Our Tragic Universe
by Scarlett Thomas
I’ve been eyeing this book in our bookstore for a time before actually picking it up. I was intrigued by the strange characters and plot. It looked very promising. The publisher that translated it to Croatian has a certain reputation for good and quality books. I liked the hardcover edition and the book design. It was different and I expected to enjoy the weird. I picked it up for its weirdness. I thought I would like it for its weirdness. It was maybe too weird…
This is what the Croatian edition I’ve been reading looks like.
There are moments in first reading the book where I wait for all the new to settle in in my mind so I can follow the flow of the plot and characters journey. I’m OK with weird and different books. In fact I prefer them!
First of all the summary on the back of the book lied! I felt a bit cheated for that. I hate when that happens.
This book had a messy and foggy beginning and I kept waiting for the fog to clear. All of the characters are quite real and multilayered. Most of the time their reasoning escaped me. It seemed to me that the limitations they’ve put upon themselves were too much and depressing.
The character has many discussions about fiction and what it means writing it. I mostly found it cliche. Her formulas for writing a good story that has certain elements and order do not appeal to me.
This book made me rage a bit. The relationship main heroine has with her live in boyfriend raised the hairs at the back of my neck.
They say money doesn’t make people happy. I hated this book up until the point main heroine gets some money of her own. It was so depressing to read about how poor she was, about not having money for food, transportation or a decent place to live.
The book itself does not make a big deal about any of this. Meg – the main character just goes with the flow on these things.
But I was happy to see her finally acquiring some money!
The demure setting makes the philosophical parts of the book more appealing and interesting. I did like authors view on life and death.
Death defines life: alive are those that will die, not those that are not dead.
Needs more sunshine, needs more happy…