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Extended Audio Sample Our Tragic Universe, by Scarlett Thomas Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,983 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Scarlett Thomas Narrator: Sarah Le Fevre Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Meg Carpenter is broke. Her novel is years overdue. Her cell phone is out of minutes. And her moody boyfriend’s only contribution to the household is his sour attitude. So she jumps at the chance to review a pseudoscientific book that promises life everlasting. Consulting cosmology and physics, tarot cards, koans (and riddles and jokes), new age theories of everything, narrative theory, Nietzsche, Baudrillard, and knitting patterns, Meg wends her way through Our Tragic Universe, asking this and many other questions.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A delight, not least for the quality of Scarlett Thomas’ writing, which is full of a very enjoyable life and energy.”

    Philip Pullman, New York Times bestselling author of the His Dark Materials trilogy

  • “Touching down on storytelling, magic, coincidence, love, and what it might be like to live forever…Meg’s searching soul is remarkably controlled, making her a protagonist you trust and want to follow.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • “[A] delightfully whimsical novel…[Thomas] dexterously mixes the serious with the humorous and provides a cast of characters who come across as credible owing to their recognizable foibles and fallibility.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Few writers can mix science, philosophy, and humor as cleverly as Thomas.”

    Library Journal

  • “For readers who enjoy the ideological push and pull of philosophical fiction, Thomas is definitely worth reading.”


  • “[A] freewheeling intellectual journey with no destination…For the omnivorous reader who, like Meg, can’t get enough of the insights and passions and theories and inner lives of others, Thomas’s fifth novel should be an addictive delight.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Thomas brilliantly reminds us that, despite popular representations, many women are actually staying up half the night talking ideas. One feels alone. And then one reads Our Tragic Universe.”

    Jincy Willett, author of Winner of the National Book Award

  • Our Tragic Universe surprised me with where it goes, and in such a terrific way. Scarlett Thomas’s prose is so addictive you can’t help but fall deeper and deeper under her spell. How does she do it? She is a genius.”

    Douglas Coupland, author of Generation X

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Don Hackett | 2/10/2014

    " I'm not sure what I think. The book has the elements of an ordinary novel or story: a likable woman protagonist; a boyfriend she might breakup with; a best friend who is having an affair; an older man who the protagonist might want to have an affair with; a career she is dissatisfied with; and money problems. Her career is writing, and after an award for a new writer, she is stalled writing anonymous young adult novels and the occasional science fiction novel. When she edits her work on her Serious novel, it keeps getting smaller--currently down to 43 words. She talks about writing, tells jokes to her friends, does not care tat sex with her boyfriend has always been infrequent, and she walks her dog. She has an estranged friend who is said to be developing a theory of the anti-story and this novel seems to be an example of an anti-story, and maybe a bit of a shaggy-dog-story. Events happen, lives change (or maybe they don't), clues are dropped (and then contravened), but they don't add up to a story as I expected it. In being inconclusive the book is like life as we (I) know it, and that may be the point of this novel. I have the urge to reread this book, in part to see how much of the talk about stories is embodies in this novel, and this might result in my upgrading my evaluation. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Patrick koozy | 1/17/2014

    " No where near as good as The End of Mr Y. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Sue Hyams | 1/15/2014

    " I bought this book for the cover. How could I not? Black, gold, wolf. It's an odd book and I'm not sure how to describe it, nor am I sure what I feel about it. There's not really a story, it just follows a period of time in Meg's life, and we live her life pretty much as she does, detail by detail. So, while it is, I suppose, a nothingy sort of book, it's also compelling, and I was drawn towards Meg in many ways. I found the end rather disappointing but when there's no story as such, the end must be pretty hard to write. I'm glad I read it, and I'm sure it will live with me for some time to come. A thoughtful book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Tim Rowe | 1/8/2014

    " Excellent. Great to read such an excellent novel that is set in current-day England. A big plus for me was that it referenced many subjects I am interested in such as: Metaphysics, Homeopathy, Magic etc. "

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