A book of Meta: The Time Traveller's Wife meets Mark Haddon

Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas

This is at its heart the book about a writer, Meg, who is (unsuccessfully) writing her novel. She’s a successful ghostwriter for an author who doesn’t exist, and occasional journalist, but she is her own worst editor when it comes to writing her own book with more false starts and aborted attempts than she can count.

This is a book that is as curiously wonky as Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveller’s Wife and with characters and situations as disfunctional as a Mark Haddon novel (The Red House, A Spot of Bother, but it is also absolutely a meta book.

Meg struggles to write her book at the same time as she struggles with her own collapsing relationship. And it is this tumbling mix of events that gets confused with a “popular science” book she is reviewing about time and the universe, a device that serves to confuse us (and Meg) about the nature of truth and what is really happening to a point where us, the reader, like her, the writer within the book start to doubt our own existences.