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The City Of Invention

The book reviews of UK children's author, Brian Keaney

Think Philip Pullman With Sex

The End of Mr. Y - Scarlett Thomas

Think Philip Pullman with sex. The End Of Mr Y is a story about a young woman who, during the course of her PhD, discovers one of the rarest books in the world, and one that is reputedly cursed. Her study of the book and its enigmatic author who disappeared immediately after writing it, leads her right out of this world.


This a novel of ideas, primarily - a thought experiment to use Ms Thomas'phrase - but it's driven by a plot that powers along like an outboard motor, buoyed up by strong characters and streamlined with humour. I simply could not put it down. It's one of those stories in which the fantasy element is so well conceived and so vividly depicted that you want to live in the world of the book forever. (Conicidentally, so does its heroine.) Don't be misled by the fantasy tag into dismissing this as genre fiction. It's very literary, very post-modern and, above all, very clever.