Thursday, February 05, 2009

just finished reading

Special Topics in Calamity Physics, by Marisha Pessl. My review here. Anyone else read it? Any thoughts?

13 comments:

writeidea said...

Ooh, not yet. It is in my To Be Read pile though.

Silicon Valley Diva said...

I haven't but this book sounds intriguing. I often enjoy longer books, provided it's a story that I get swept up in and can't put down. I will peruse it next time I go to B&N.
Thanks also for not giving away any spoilers :-)

Ben-M said...

I found the style, particularly the portrayal of the savant main character intriguing and mostly enjoyable.

Having said that, all I can remember is that the plot moved much too slowly for my taste, with the character's constant insertion of references into every other thought becoming a whole lot of 'noise'.

I ended up skimming the last fifth of the book and adding myself to the 'not that impressed' crowd.

Opinion said...

The thing to take away from Special Topics in Calamity Physics is the contents page. One should make time to read and re-read the wonderful works listed there and not bother with what follows.

Jacqui said...

Good book. I have to agree with your "nerdishly delectable." And I love the title.

Amelia said...

Agreeing with Ben-M that it was a bit disappointing, although part of my problem may have been reading it almost straight through on a 14-hour plane flight. The plot was cleverly constructed, but the references were a bit much, and Blue's father really enraged me. Probably we were supposed to dislike him, but he was far too odious for me to enjoy the book.

(Delurking, by the way; hi!)

moonrat said...

hi, Amelia! (they all come out eventually, nyuk nyuk)

Linda said...

SPECIAL TOPICS... sigh... this is a book I really wanted to love because the premise was so intriguing. Ultimately, I found it too "precious"; the literary name-dropping got tedious and started to feel like speed-bumps. I dropped the book half-way through, after several stalled attempts to get past the first chapter or two. I'll try again (yeah... I bought it), when I have more patience. Glad you enjoyed, though; super review. Peace, Linda

Helen said...

I really wanted to like it because the set-up seemed fascinating. I loved the way she pulled everything together in the last 150 or so pages, but the plot moved far too slow for my taste and I clearly remember a moment when I was reading it on the tram home after work and thought, 'This is moving at a snail's pace.'

That said, I kept on going to the end because I wanted to know what happened, so there is that.

Mary said...

I expected it to be superficial and/or trendy based on what I'd heard but I absolutely loved it. I think Pessl's a huge talent. There were a few places where I felt like she was showing off--flaunting technique at the expense of story. And I think it could have used a bit more editing. But for the most part she's an awesome storyteller with a great command of craft. She learned well from Nabokov for sure. She did a fantastic job of keeping me at the degree of emotional closeness (or distance) as the characters were with each other. The paragraph or so near the end about goldfish and memory was so simple but so brilliant and moving, as were many of the insights throughout the book. I can't wait to read more of her work.

Alyssa said...

I read it a year or so ago and remember enjoying it, but not being overwhelmed. I don't really remember the ending--guess that says something. (Really, it says I read too many books to remember them all and need to take more notes!)

Marie said...

I think this is the first time my tastes have diverged so much from yours. I tried to read this novel a number of times. I even purchased it twice. But the voice just grated, and I ended up giving the book away two times. It might be one of those things I turn to later in life, or I may actually never get to it.

"The Secret History," though, which "Calamity Physics" seemed to emulate, is still a superb read, no matter how many times I pick it up.

Perry said...

Entertaining, readable, though at times a bit thick and a little contrived. I don't mind suspending disbelief if the author is up front about asking for it. I read it and I enjoyed reading it, though, and that's what it's all about!