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Special Topics in Calamity Physics by…
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Special Topics in Calamity Physics

by Marisha Pessl

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,8672831,124 (3.65)326
A darkly funny coming-of-age novel and a richly plotted suspense tale told through the distinctive voice of its heroine, Blue van Meer. After a childhood moving from one academic outpost to another with her father (a man prone to aphorisms and meteoric affairs), Blue is clever, deadpan, and possessed of a vast lexicon of literary, political, philosophical, and scientific knowledge--and is quite the cinéaste to boot. In her final year of high school at the élite (and unusual) St. Gallway School in Stockton, North Carolina, Blue falls in with a charismatic group of friends and their captivating teacher, Hannah Schneider. But when the drowning of one of Hannah's friends and the shocking death of Hannah herself lead to a confluence of mysteries, Blue is left to make sense of it all with only her gimlet-eyed instincts and cultural references to guide--or misguide--her.--From publisher description.… (more)
Recently added byprivate library, eatsnacksreadbooks, carizinn, Bink42, Adammmmm, hrebml, eaking68, knittinkitties
  1. 162
    The Secret History by Donna Tartt (Eumenides, shellibrary, Littlemissmops)
  2. 30
    The Marriage Plot: A Novel by Jeffrey Eugenides (kinsey_m)
  3. 30
    The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff (lyzadanger)
    lyzadanger: Precocious young women in small towns.
  4. 20
    The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (zhejw)
    zhejw: I loved both books, but Pessl's is a notch up in language, character development, and plot. Lockhart's is the place for teens to start.
  5. 10
    The Flying Troutmans by Miriam Toews (SqueakyChu)
    SqueakyChu: Both books offer in-detail insights into life as a young adult when interacting with others.
  6. 43
    Likewise: The High School Comic Chronicles of Ariel Schrag by Ariel Schrag (lorax)
  7. 11
    I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (Littlemissmops)
  8. 00
    The Likeness by Tana French (Sammiwithani)
    Sammiwithani: Also about a group of elite school friends dealing with a mysterious death in their circle
  9. 11
    Human Croquet by Kate Atkinson (Mossa)
  10. 22
    The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (krist_ellis)
  11. 11
    My Latest Grievance by Elinor Lipman (SqueakyChu)
    SqueakyChu: Both books offer sharp humor offered by a student.
  12. 00
    The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall (krist_ellis)
  13. 01
    Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday (sarahemmm)
    sarahemmm: This is worth trying if you like the unusual format of Pessl's book.
  14. 01
    The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman (Lillydarlene)
    Lillydarlene: The intensity of friendship that comes with being in high school, and with being an isolated group, with a dark secret in the background. Both of these are good if you've read The Secret History and are hungry for a similar feel.
  15. 12
    Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple (lycomayflower)
  16. 34
    Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld (SqueakyChu)
    SqueakyChu: Both books look at issues encountered by one particular student.
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» See also 326 mentions

English (267)  Dutch (7)  French (5)  German (1)  Norwegian (1)  Danish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (283)
Showing 1-5 of 267 (next | show all)
“One should never dribble speculation like a leaky garbage bag.”
I love Pessl’s writing! It is witty, intelligent and imaginative. Despite dark themes of murder, suicide and deception, Pessl humors her reader with her astute narrative and finely crafted plot. This is a brilliantly conceived novel that will make you laugh… and shudder. ( )
  BALE | Sep 7, 2019 |
What a read! Erudite, fast-paced, great plot, great ending, great characters, and more! A brilliant professor takes a position for his daughter's senior year of high school and the story is off and running. I laughed out loud, I ached, I gasped, and I held my breath in suspenseful anticipation. Two subplots intertwine leading to a massive climax. Themes include: the balance/imbalance of intellect and emotion, adolescence, isolation, trust and betrayal. The novel is densely populated with literary references and allusions, which just add another dimension to the experience of reading this masterpiece! Love it! ( )
  hemlokgang | Aug 4, 2019 |
This one had been sitting on my to-read shelf for a while, so glad I finally got around to this- I generally don't care for books as wordy as this but Pessl's figurative language was witty and engaging. ( )
  viviennestrauss | Jul 16, 2019 |
Eh. I enjoyed it most of the way through, but the ending was a bit too abrupt for my tastes. ( )
  tronella | Jun 22, 2019 |
Had to check this out three times from the library, but the climax was worth it. She rather perfectly evoked that moment of awakening to the realities of our family. (or - was that really goldfish she was talking about?) ( )
  MaryHeleneMele | May 6, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 267 (next | show all)
Her exhilarating synthesis of the classic and the modern, frivolity and fate — “Pnin” meets “The O.C.” — is a poetic act of will. Never mind jealous detractors: virtuosity is its own reward. And this skylarking book will leave readers salivating for more.

 

» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pessl, Marishaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Card, Emily JaniceNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dad always said a person must have a magnificent reason for writing out his or her Life Story and expecting anyone to read it.
"Unless your name is something along the lines of Mozart, Matisse, Churchill, or Bond--James Bond--you best spend your free time finger painting or playing shuffleboard, for no one, with the exception of your flabby-armed mother with stiff hair and a mashed-potato way of looking at you, will want to hear the particulars of your pitiable existence, which doubtlessly will end as it began--with a wheeze."
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Book description
Special Topics in Calamity Physics, the dazzling debut of Marisha Pessl, is a buoyant combination of comedy, tragedy, mystery, and romance, a story of disturbing secrets and the eccentric high school student who uncovers them. It is a coming-of-age tale and a disturbing mystery. a snapshot of the dark relationship between ideology and violence but also the poignant tale of a young woman learning to stand on her own.
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Average: (3.65)
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