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The End of Mr. y
Historical Fiction. A small price to pay, she thinks. Of course, there is that one tiny issue with the book: some people think it's cursed, "that if you read it you die. He, too, was interested in Lumas -- but he's now mysteriously disappeared.
One of the consequences of the building-collapse is that Ariel now has to share the big office she's had all to herself with two other academics -- and that Burlem's things have to be put in storage. Ariel has a variety of things to deal with: her freezing apartment, her lack of funds, her thesis on thought experiments , the complications on campus due to the building-collapse, as well as some darker sexual proclivities she can't help but indulge in.
But the book is her main interest, of course, and it doesn't disappoint.
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It involves a Mr. Y finding a way into a "world-of-minds" -- a sort of new dimension, where it is possible to move through the minds of others, and essentially read their thoughts and memories. He dubs it the Troposphere.
Unfortunately, Ariel finds that near the end of her copy of the book a page is missing -- one with what she's sure is a crucial scene. Indeed, the page contains the recipe for getting into the Troposphere Needless to say, Ariel eventually finds her way into the Troposphere. There are, however, dangers not only within it but also outside: she's not the only one who has figured out the significance of Lumas' book, and because she has a copy -- and the knowledge of what's in it -- others are desperately after her. With it's own rules the Troposphere functions very differently from familiar reality and dangers you can't die in the Troposphere, but there's that body you leave behind in the real world Thomas uses it for her own purposes, as a thought-experiment on consciousness and being, quantum physics and reality, belief and language, and much else -- all ideas she also has carefully spun out in the conversations the characters have along the way.
As such, The End of Mr. Y is both a philosophical-thriller as well as a more straightforward thriller -- and, yes, that does make for double the fun. Ariel -- a poor student, living in an unheatable apartment -- sees the obvious appeal of an alternate world: Real life is physical. Give me books instead: Give me the invisibility of the contents of books, the thoughts, the ideas, the images.
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