People have died because of a book entitled The End of Mr. Y, and now Ariel Manto has it in her hands - purchased for fifty pounds! What will she do with a book that could possibly kill her?
Writing a magazine column takes Ariel into new areas of study. This is how she discovers Thomas E. Lumas, the author of The End of Mr. Y. Although there is only one known copy of this book in existence, and
that in a German bank vault, Ariel manages to find a copy for herself. Owning the book is not enough for Ariel, though, and neither is reading it. She wants to get inside it and see the things Mr. Y wrote about. To get inside the book, sheíll need to find the bookís ripped-out page, and then all the ingredients for the special transporting recipe included in the story.
After the page is taped back in and the drink is swallowed, Ariel is taken into a world where she can enter the minds of those near her - be it a mouse, a cat, or her neighbor Wolfgang. This altered world, called the Troposphere, is addictive for her. However, repeated visits help Ariel learn to call up the console when she needs to jump into another mind, to ask for help, and to find her way back home. Arielís enjoyment of the Troposphere soon comes to an end, though, with the sudden arrival of two dangerous men who are desperately trying to track her down. Not only is her mind in grave danger, but so is the future of the world. The only thing Ariel can think to do is find her missing professor, Saul Burlem. He was writing a biography on Thomas E. Lumas and helping Ariel with her Ph.D. on thought experiments when he mysteriously disappeared. Ariel needs to find Burlem and his safe hiding spot, and she thinks she can does this by entering the mind of his daughter, Molly. After their meeting, Ariel finds herself extending her stay in the Troposphere. She has to complete two final tasks
- and spend more time with someone very special.
The author has mixed philosophy into physics, psychology, and religion and come up with the story The End of Mr. Y. Some of the ideas
are a little hard to comprehend, but I didnít mind. It's fascinating to think of the universe in these new ways, and to wonder about the universe in these new directions. This book by Scarlett Thomas has a very clever cover, but donít let it fool you. That black dot and cute mouse will lead you down a road and through a tunnel far from reality. If youíre bored with this world or fascinated by the known and unknown physics of it, read The End of Mr. Y. Thereís always room for books like this in a library.
British author Scarlett Thomas teaches writing at the University of Kent. Her other books include PopCo and Going Out. She writes for the Independent on Sunday and Scotland on Sunday.