Our Tragic Universe

Our Tragic Universe

Book - 2010
Average Rating:
Rate this:

Can a story save your life?

Meg Carpenter is broke. Her novel is years overdue. Her cell phone is out of minutes. And her moody boyfriend's only contribution to the household is his sour attitude. So she jumps at the chance to review a pseudoscientific book that promises life everlasting.

But who wants to live forever?

Consulting cosmology and physics, tarot cards, koans (and riddles and jokes), new-age theories of everything, narrative theory, Nietzsche, Baudrillard, and knitting patterns, Meg wends her way through Our Tragic Universe , asking this and many other questions. Does she believe in fairies? In magic? Is she a superbeing? Is she living a storyless story? And what's the connection between her off-hand suggestion to push a car into a river, a ship in a bottle, a mysterious beast loose on the moor, and the controversial author of The Science of Living Forever ?

Smart, entrancing, and boiling over with Thomas's trademark big ideas, Our Tragic Universe is a book about how relationships are created and destroyed, how we can rewrite our futures (if not our histories), and how stories just might save our lives.

Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010.
Edition: 1st U.S. ed.
ISBN: 9780151013913
Branch Call Number: THO
Characteristics: 372 pages : map


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Sep 10, 2019

This is fine but.... The author announces the 'plot' or concept or what she is going to do (digressions upon digressions) early, and then proceeds to do exactly what has been announced. If one can delight in watching an author do that or just flow with each digression then this may be the book for you or....
You could just read Potocki's Saragasso Manuscript.

Aug 15, 2018

Scarlett Thomas is a daring British writer who explores areas of contemporary thought where many will not go. This novel has a band of people who would have been beat or hippie in earlier eras, but live in a more contemporary world. I think her focus was her own Gen X, and I hope the millennials can find a writer of her quality. She deconstructs the world of patriarchy in funny and convincing ways, while keeping a postmodern tone. We grow to appreciate and like her cast of characters. I see lately she has moved into the world of young adult fiction. Her "The End of Mr. Y" seems to remain the book readers like most.

fisnik Aug 07, 2013

I took a couple of tries to get started, but I enjoyed it once I got going. The book is very much worth reading. Has lots of intelligent conversations that are very well written. Yes, it's about New Age stuff but it is not a New Age book. And although there is talk among the writer-characters about the "storyless story", the book does have a story - in fact, it has several.
Five stars.

Apr 12, 2011

Took a while to get into & I really wanted to give the main character a bit of a shake at times but ultimately I enjoyed this novel.

Jan 24, 2011

I tried very hard to read this, but I just couldn't.

debwalker Nov 18, 2010

Metaphysical chick lit? Ostensibly the story of a writer adrift in her career and relationship, the book quickly becomes, via the female protagonist’s whip-smart digressions, a meditation on the question of whether life and books are better off plotless.
#1 on the New York Times list of most anticipated fiction and nonfiction of fall 2010.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at ORL

To Top