Above, a mural at 16th and Mission in San Francisco
I have been reading the latest book by Scarlett Thomas, Our Tragic Universe. Her breakout book was The End of Mr. Y, which had as its central character a disaffected but infinitely curious female writer/academic. The new book has as its central character a disaffected but infinitely curious female writer/teacher, otherwise it is a sort of mirror image of the earlier book - instead of having minimal attachments, the heroine is grounded (even mired) in connections with her friends and extended family. Instead of a somewhat forced transcendent ending, we leave the character in the midst of a morning walk, a little clearer about what she wants from life. I remember years ago a review of a Kurt Vonnegut book in which the reviewer described feeling toward him as one would feel toward a beloved, curmudgeonly uncle. Scarlett Thomas seems somehow familial if you are the sort of person who relates to a constantly questioning companion. She is most definitely not among those who believe that everything happens for a reason - she likes her universe unfathomable. Recommended for those who prefer questions to answers.
*Knitting is among the subjects explored in this book