Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas

By the end of this novel I had at least seven new friends. Well, I’m not sure how they felt about me but I was certainly interested in the questions they’d sprung upon me. I was just finishing my novel, preparing my blog and dreaming of how I could indeed sell many, many, copies, write more books, sell more of them and then live happily ever after. I was like any other character in every western Apprentice-style, X-factor story. I was, like them: “fuelled by desire for change” for the want of a better life…, still am, if truth be told.

But: “Art and writing should do something more profound than simply have someone lose a bottle of oil and find it again…”

And so: “Why bother with all these stupid fucking meaningless things?”

In Our Tragic Universe, Meg, sets about writing a novel that’s outside the confines of traditional western narrative and weaves the reader through folk tales, zen stories, Chinese fairy tales… and the story-less story?

An extract: a Chinese fairy tale. Page 390…                                                                                                  

‘The fox tells the tiger he can’t eat him, because he, the fox is revered as the most important animal in the world. ‘Walk behind me for a while’, the fox says, ‘and you’ll see the way the other animals respect me’. The tiger agrees and they set off. The other animals, seeing the fierce tiger walking behind the fox, decide that he must indeed be the most important animal in the world and flee. The tiger impressed, then lets the fox go on his way.’

A favourite new word I learnt…

Apophenia – The experience of seeing meaningful patterns or connections in random or meaningless data.

(A bit like me when I am thinking of someone and the phone rings and lo and behold it’s that very person and I think to myself: It must be a sign.) 

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1 Comment

Filed under Favourite Books Ever

One response to “Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas

  1. I would different meaning might spring to mind after reading this brilliant piece for me it is the lesson of Hype and that which could only be achieved and measured by how much of a risk one is willing to undertake in life.

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