August 25, 2010 at 04:00 AM EDT

Our Tragic Universe

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Scarlett Thomas
genre
Fiction
We gave it a C

Thomas has loaded down her talky metaphysical mystery with lengthy regurgitations of literary, existential, and historical theory, but Our Tragic Universe is less a unified whole than a jumbled yard sale of ideas — many of which are still in their boxes, since she hasn’t bothered to unpack them. The writing is often top-shelf — dead fish look ”as if they’d been just about to say something important when they were caught” — and the characters are well drawn. If only she had given us more of herself, instead of just echoing other people’s philosophies. C

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