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The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas

The End of Mr. Y (original 2007; edition 2008)

by Scarlett Thomas

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,1431003,050 (3.74)198
Title:The End of Mr. Y
Authors:Scarlett Thomas
Info:Canongate Books Ltd (2008), Edition: Export ed, Paperback, 512 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:Fiction, Books About Books, Magical Realism, Time Travel, 2012, 1 Star

Work details

The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas (2007)

  1. 61
    Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder (mpettitt)
    mpettitt: Another book where philosophical thinking is encouraged within the plot
  2. 30
    The Prestige by Christopher Priest (gaskella)
  3. 20
    Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas (souloftherose)
    souloftherose: Scarlett Thomas' earlier novel The End of Mr Y shares many similar themes with Our Tragic Universe
  4. 20
    Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan (Anonymous user)
  5. 10
    The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman (riverwillow)
  6. 10
    Darkmans by Nicola Barker (VisibleGhost, Widsith, debbiereads)
    Widsith: Both slightly bonkers Kent-based novels-of-ideas with supernatural elements...I think Barker is the better writer, but Thomas has the whole geeky-cool angle covered.
  7. 10
    Mobius Dick by Andrew Crumey (Anonymous user)
  8. 10
    The Ghost Writer by John Harwood (GirlMisanthrope)
  9. 00
    The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell (jonathankws)
  10. 00
    The Amnesiac by Sam Taylor (GirlMisanthrope)

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» See also 198 mentions

English (94)  Dutch (5)  German (1)  Italian (1)  Swedish (1)  All (102)
Showing 1-5 of 94 (next | show all)
Finally finished this on the second attempt. Quite enjoyed it. The back cover states that "Ariel finds herself swept into a thrilling adventure of love, sex, death and time-travel. All cool, however not entirely sure why female characters who like sex have to be suffering from some sort of trauma and daddy issues as a way of explaining why they are really just self harming. ( )
  njgriffin | Jan 2, 2017 |
I really enjoyed this book. The ending was a bit strange, but not unsatisfactory. I like the way Scarlett Thomas mixed science with fantasy (although I didn't always understand the scientific parts so I don't know how accurate they were). Overall, I found it really entertaining. ( )
  BuffyBarber | Jun 5, 2016 |
While I liked the thought experiments, quantum physics and the idea of a cursed book the thing that stops this book getting a higher rating is that the characters are completely unsympathetic - I don't care if the men in the grey suits get a hold of the formula and kill everybody else - and also some really bad sex scenes. When it comes to sex scenes I don't care how graphic you get but these just had me cringing, maybe the author should stick to science and philosophy and leave the sex scenes to our imaginations. ( )
  KarenDuff | Jun 1, 2016 |
postmodernism for beginners. Thomas portrays the banal, seemingly profound dinner party conversations of students everywhere by staging a conversation between a theology student, a literature/theory student and a biology postgrad.... at a dinner table, where they talk about evolution, meaning, the narrative of science, poststructuralist physics blah blah. The story was good in parts, but overburdened by her cramming in the theory & sycophantic references to Derrida et al. And the protagonist was deeply annoying - considering herself poverty striken because she chose the life of a student, and 'transgressive' (phrase du jour amonst crit theory 20 odd years ago) because she slept around with married men. Not bad over all though. ( )
  marek2010 | May 10, 2016 |
I made a big mistake by not writing up my thoughts on this before I started reading my next book (The Bell by Iris Murdoch) as, despite really enjoying reading this, it's palling in comparison!

So, I had a number of doubts about this book prior to starting: I was worried it would turn out to be a Da Vinci Code/The Rule of Four style of book, neither of which I particularly enjoyed. Each of these books start out with a similar premise, in this case a rare book is found and an adventure ensues. Thankfully in this case, there is actually some originality involved!

The book in question has a 'curse' attached: the author, those involved in it's publication and everyone who has read it have all died shortly afterwards. Our 'hero' Ariel is a research student who happens upon a copy of the book and, of course, not only reads it, but experiments on herself after the fashion in the book thereby exposing herself to various dangers in the real world and in the world she finds herself in. There is a fantasy/sci-fi/semi-religious aspect to this book and a lot of deep philosophical issues, religious topics and theoretical physics (where's Prof Brian Cox when you need him??) are discussed along the way. I think that's partly what appealed to me most, the fact that this wasn't just a far fetched adventure story, but an exploration of more in depth theories too.

One of the things that will stay in my mind is towards the end, about the mice. Don't want to spoil the story by saying too much, but it reminded me why I don't like experimentation on animals. Finally, I still haven't decided if I liked the ending, a bit cheesy and possibly predictable (I didn't predict it), but as I 'clicked' I actually found myself smiling. Glad I read this, enjoyable story and lots to think about too.

(Since reading the book and writing this 'review' I've been to see "Uncaged Monkeys" where Prof Brian Cox gave a short lecture on Partical Physics (amongst other things) & I was happy to recognise some of the topics from this book - pleasantly surprised to actually understand some of it too!)
( )
  Cassandra2020 | Jan 24, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 94 (next | show all)
Thomas writes with marvelous panache, although I wish she indulged less in her earnest calls for homeopathy and animal rights. Amid all the novel’s engaging questions about the nature of reality, it’s hard to get worked up about a subplot that has Ariel traveling through time to save laboratory mice. Still, she spins Derrida and subatomic theory into a wholly enchanting alternate universe that should appeal to a wide popular audience, and that’s something no deconstructionist or physicist has managed to do. Consider “The End of Mr. Y” an accomplished, impressive thought experiment for the 21st century.
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But what if God himself can be simulated, that is to say can be reduced to the signs that constitute faith? Then the whole system becomes weightless, it is no longer itself anything but a gigantic simulacrum--not unreal, but a simulacrum, that is to say never exchanged for the real, but exchanged for itself, in an uninterrupted circuit without reference or circumference.--Jean Baudrillard
Indeed it is even possible for an entity to show itself as something which in itself it is not.--Martin Heidegger
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0156031612, Paperback)

A cursed book. A missing professor. Some nefarious men in gray suits. And a dreamworld called the Troposphere?
Ariel Manto has a fascination with nineteenth-century scientists—especially Thomas Lumas and The End of Mr. Y, a book no one alive has read. When she mysteriously uncovers a copy at a used bookstore, Ariel is launched into an adventure of science and faith, consciousness and death, space and time, and everything in between.
Seeking answers, Ariel follows in Mr. Y’s footsteps: She swallows a tincture, stares into a black dot, and is transported into the Troposphere—a wonderland where she can travel through time and space using the thoughts of others. There she begins to understand all the mysteries surrounding the book, herself, and the universe. Or is it all just a hallucination?
With The End of Mr. Y, Scarlett Thomas brings us another fast-paced mix of popular culture, love, mystery, and irresistible philosophical adventure.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:07 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"Ariel Manto has a fascination with The End of Mr. Y, a book no one alive has read - maybe because it's cursed and everyone related to it (the author, various book collectors, Ariel's doctoral advisor) disappears. But suddenly she discovers a rare copy in a used bookstore. Using the book to follow in Mr. Y's footsteps, she falls into a trance and steps into the Troposphere - a wonderland of an alternate dimension where she can travel through time and space using the thoughts of others. And so Ariel launches into a heart-racing, brain-teasing, time-twisting adventure of science, faith, consciousness, death, and everything in between."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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Average: (3.74)
0.5 5
1 16
1.5 9
2 44
2.5 17
3 120
3.5 69
4 232
4.5 52
5 147

Canongate Books

3 editions of this book were published by Canongate Books.

Editions: 184195957X, 1847671179, 1847670709

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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