Mark's Reviews > Special Topics in Calamity Physics

Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl
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's review
Dec 07, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: bookshelf, favorite
Read in December, 2008

This book was terrific. Although the style of short handing descriptions with references is a little irritating and gimmicky at first, I thought it illustrated tensions between different ways of knowing. Relating the details of life to arcane historical facts and literary references is a neat, if sometimes complicated game that has its rewards and comforts. But, the cost (or perhaps the cause) is a habitual detachment that leads one to think that something is not real until its represented in some sanctioned format. Almost as if recognizing this, the narrator tries (at times desperately, through subplots) to be real and live in the moment, but has little success. This turns everything that happens in her life into a mystery that she can work though only by concocting a sort of syllabus. I thought it was an interesting and fun read.

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