Monday, March 26, 2012

Scarlett Thomas

The End of Mr. Y presents us with many questions about the present. Asks us to imagine a world created entirely from our imaginations. Leads us through a looking glass and lets us choose if we want to stay and play on the other side or return to mundane reality. Though return we must, as with all good stories the novel comes to an end. But treasure troves from the author remain long after the last page is turned. Like Olbers Paradox, who knew Edgar Allan Poe was a thought scientist, describing "infinity as the thought of a thought" in his poem Eureka in response, anticipating Big Bang theory 100 years before the experimental scientists. Or that hyperreality has been mapped by Derrida but we can't get there from here, i.e., language will always circumvent and we will find ourselves in a feedback loop. Or in considering "emotion" as metaphor, a symptom of something set in motion, a movement from one state to another but never the state itself. Thomas attempts narrative in a world of the infinite possibilities of poststructuralist physics in order to arrive at the conclusion realized by her protagonist, Ariel, who has "so much free will that nothing means anything anymore." But Thomas counters the only way she, or we, know how: Language creates causal connections between things aka beginning, middle, end. "And the middle is only there because the beginning is; the end is only there because the middle is. And in the beginning was the word..." BTW, Ariel's romantic interest in the novel is named Adam. As with her other novels, Scarlett Thomas is reading as educated entertainment.