Book Review: The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas

theendof mr yThe End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas

A cursed book. A missing professor. Some nefarious men in gray suits. And a dreamworld called the Troposphere?

Ariel Manto has a fascination with nineteenth-century scientists; especially Thomas Lumas and The End of Mr. Y, a book no one alive has read. When she mysteriously uncovers a copy at a used bookstore, Ariel is launched into an adventure of science and faith, consciousness and death, space and time, and everything in between.

Seeking answers, Ariel follows in Mr. Y’s footsteps. She swallows a tincture, stares into a black dot, and is transported into the Troposphere; a wonderland where she can travel through time and space using the thoughts of others. There she begins to understand all the mysteries surrounding the book, herself, and the universe. Or is it all just a hallucination?

With The End of Mr. Y, Scarlett Thomas brings us another fast-paced mix of popular culture, love, mystery, and irresistible philosophical adventure.”


What can you say about a book that starts off with this question “If you knew a book was cursed, would you read it”? Hell yes! The end of Mr. Y was one of those rare books that come along every so often and takes you on an adventure of a lifetime.

Ariel finds the book of a mad Victorian scientist in a second hand book shop. Inside it gives her a recipe to follow to get to the Troposphere. Here is where faith and the belief in magic comes in- the recipe is detailed and it is a tincture made by filtering water threw an ash. Yes, I know you get lye and probably poisoned, but just believe it works.

I wasn’t sure how likeable Ariel was in the beginning- she did and said a lot of things I didn’t like and I found I wasn’t able to empathize with her until later in the book.

The end of Mr.Y was a fantastic journey worthy of being made into a film by Terry Gilliam. This is the kind of book that the moment you finish, you start reading over again. It seems like a whole new book the second time around because you are altered and so your perceptions.



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