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Our Tragic Universe: 10/26/22
Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas (2010) is at its core, metafiction about storytelling. Meg is an author who has been trying to finish her novel for years, while also being one of a handful of ghostwriters for a children's mystery series.
Meg also sometimes reviews books and one in particular, a theory of how the universe will end, puts her on a path to change her life. She leaves her useless boyfriend, moves out of her damp house, and finally gets started in earnest on her novel.
But mostly this novel is a series of conversations between Meg and the people in her life as they take apart the art of storytelling. They look at basic plots.
All the other Scarlett Thomas books I've read have been about a socially naive character who stumbles upon some universe altering secret. This one has that same promise with the omega point. But as the point of this novel is the challenge of telling a storyless story, this novel is essentially that.
Despite this being metafiction, it also is one of the rare British novels that sits on the road narrative spectrum. Meg, working essentially by herself to better her life, is an orphan traveler (FF). Her destination is a new home (66) and more broadly, a new life. Her route there is the labyrinth (99), represented literally by the labyrinth that opens at the end of the book, but more broadly by the way her decision to change her life results in that transformation.