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The End Of Mr. Y Hardcover – 5 Jul 2007

249 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; First UK Edition edition (5 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184195957X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841959573
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 4 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (249 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 265,870 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Scarlett Thomas was born in London in 1972. Her other novels include Bright Young Things, Going Out, PopCo and The End of Mr.Y, which was longlisted for the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction 2007. She teaches creative writing at the University of Kent. Her website is at

Product Description


`A masterpiece . . . A brilliant, engaging story that in the end
makes you rethink the nature of existence and the true structure of the
world.' -- Douglas Coupland

`Ingenious and original . . . A cracking good yarn fizzing with
intelligence.' -- Philip Pullman

`One of the most exciting novels I have read in recent years.'
-- Jonathan Coe

Book Description

If you knew a book was cursed, would you read it? --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Jackie on 28 Dec. 2008
Format: Paperback
`The End of Mr Y' is a very hard book to describe. It has all the adventure, intelligence and religious theology of Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy, mixed with the suspense and spookiness of Elizabeth Kostova's "The Historian", and the bizarreness of a Haruki Murakami novel. I loved it!

It is a real page turner. You are quickly drawn into the world of Ariel, as she finds a copy of a rare, cursed book in a second hand bookshop. Everyone else who has ever read this book has died. Ariel discovers the secret of the cursed book, and sets out on a mission to rescue her University tutor, travelling through the `troposphere' via both time and thoughts.

The writing is very vivid. At one point you get a mouse's perspective of the world, and I think this is one of the best sections of writing I have read this year. I now know exactly what mice are thinking, and have a strange desire to look after them all now!

It does get a bit technical in places, and I think that those who do not have a scientific background may struggle to understand some sections. I have a degree in chemistry, but still didn't manage to follow all the finer details of some of the `thought experiments'

Overall I found it to be a thought provoking book, with great characters and an intelligent plot.

Recommended to anyone who likes a bit of science in their fiction!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A. Lindholm on 20 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback
The End of Mr. Y is a philosophical thriller. I don't think it is a coincidence that Ariel Manto, the protagonist, is writing her PhD thesis on thought experiments or that we are told that "all thought experiments are stories." Ariel is a huge fan of the postmodern French philosopher Jacques Derrida. Parts of his thought, along with bits of Heidegger and Baudrillard, are to be found throughout the book.

The story is straightforward enough. By chance, Ariel stumbles upon a very rare copy of the 19th century novel The End of Mr. Y by the Victorian eccentric Thomas Lumas. Lumas--I should point out that he is fictional--is remembered, if at all, mainly for once having punched Charles Darwin. The book allows Ariel to enter the Troposphere, or MindSpace, where she can access all consciousness. She enters through a tunnel of written symbols, suggesting that all consciousness is based on language. (If I have understood this correctly, this implies a contradiction in the premises of the story. If consciousness is founded on language, why does the Troposphere allow Ariel to enter the minds of speechless creatures like mice?) She is then pursued by evil ex-CIA agents, who want to sell the secret formula.

I wasn't that impressed by the book. It is not that I strongly disapprove of Derrida or Heidegger. The story just isn't that exciting. I have read several books by Philip K. Dick and most of Haruki Murakami. They, too, are writers who deal with the mysteries of mind, consciousness, and reality, and they often find ways to make the narrative more compelling. I am not suggesting that Scarlett Thomas has attempted to write the same kind of story. I am merely pointing out that other authors have entered the same general territory and managed to write better fiction.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Cougar on 21 May 2009
Format: Paperback
I've just finished reading this book, and whilst it's got its flaws I really enjoyed it.

The book itself is fairly well written. The pacing is a little off in places but there's a hefty plot behind it, and it deals with some very brave and ambitious subjects at the expense perhaps of not having a huge amount in the way of sub-plot or side stories going on. It's an entertaining and pretty gripping tale, with a main protagonist who is a likeable accidental hero.

I can however see why the book isn't everyone's cup of tea. There are times where it spends too long talking about psychology authors that I've never heard of and a lot of this was over my head, but that said I'm usually happy to read stuff that's outside my comfort zone; how better to learn things? The physics discussions I could follow more easily, but then I'm a geek. (-:

Arguably a lot of this dialogue is superfluous and could be trimmed, but I suppose it does help to colour the characters and show what drives them, and makes it logical for them to then be discussing their discoveries and dissecting exactly what they've found rather than just experiencing it superficially or running away scared.

A few people have made comments regarding sex and language in the book. Now, the sex in the book isn't hugely graphic or in great swathes of lengthy prose, and it's mentioned as a topic on the back of the book, so I don't really see it as an issue. Language, yeah, there's swearing in it, but no more than any other adult fiction. I guess if the last book you read was Harry Potter then it might be a bit of a culture shock, but it really isn't the novel of depravity that you might expect.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By ceecee on 22 May 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book it had me hooked from the start with the university building falling into the tunnel underneath! Scarlett Thomas is an excellent and most creative author. The book is well written with some fantastic descriptions, for example when Mr Y enters the troposphere. This first journey is described so eloquently the reader can picture it very clearly. There are also some marvellous moments of black humour, I know I shouldn't have laughed when Wolf returned from his disastrous weekend away at his girlfriend parents house and had run over the dog in the mini tractor (lawn mower) but I'm afraid I did(sorry dog lovers). Some of the ideas are hard to understand especially the science but I went with the flow and just decided to accept it rather than puzzle over it! Similarly the philosophical ideas especially Heidegger who is frequently referred to. However, despite the lack of personal knowledge here, I found the whole concept fascinating and extremely thought provoking so I guess it doesn't matter that you know little about these eminent people or were a duffer at science at school!! I liked the characters especially Ariel who though she is flawed is very honest and brave. Adam was also very interesting character and though we are given some understanding of him towards the end I would have liked to understand him better. The end is fantastic - I won't spoil it for future readers! Would recommend this book because it is so completely different - definitely not run of the mill.
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