Special Topics in Calamity Physics


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Marisha Pessl's Special Topics in Calamity Physics is an unforgettable debut novel that combines the storytelling gifts of Donna Tartt and the suspense of Alfred Hitchcock: a darkly hilarious coming-of-age tale and a richly plotted suspense story, told with dazzling intelligence and wit. 'I wrote this account one year after I'd found Hannah Dead. I thought I'd managed to erase all traces of that night within myself. But I was wrong. Every night when I tried to sleep, I'd close my eyes and see her again, exactly as I found ...

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Sep 13, 2012

Surprising complexity

This novel, organized linearly (for the most part), but with homage to several other literary works, is simple genius. On the surface, it's a story about an unusual adolescence. In the next layer, it's a wonderful mystery. The deepest layer, however, is left for the astute reader to absorb, and I am still doing so!


Dec 9, 2008

Not my fav

Well, I must say that in the beginning, I enjoyed the writer's style.....a lot of details and kinda funny. But, after pages and pages of it, I started to get frustrated. I wanted to know more hard facts, more plot info, etc. In the end, the book was not all that bad, but not my favorite. The ending was more interesting than I thought it could be though.


Jan 16, 2008

A disappointment

The ridiculous referencing of way too many things was the best thing about this book.
Once arriving in their chosen town for the year, the book quickly degenerated into a bad "The Secret History" clone. Which I proceeded to trudge through for approximately 360 pages to get to:
The murder plot, which was interesting until it turned into a painfully contrived and ridiculous conspiracy theory. (Though I did like one of the murder methods.)
This book promised much and, for the most part, failed to deliver.
And my word, the woman needs an effective editor.


Oct 26, 2007

Page turning and witty...yet strangely forgettable

Interesting and well written...but ultimately unsatisfying. I tore through this book in 24 hours and found there were moments of absolute brilliance. I read other reviews and found that some readers were annoyed by author Pessl's endless references to entirely made up texts but I simply found that to be part of the story's charm and the author's incredible creativity. There were really so many compelling components to this book that I wanted to recommend it and have...yet the characters are largely forgettable and I was left feeling empty at the end of the book. I've never had such a mixed reaction. But read it for yourself and find out! You may have a completely different take on it.


Apr 4, 2007

Smart and suspenseful fiction

The narrator of this book, Blue Van Meer, is the teenage daughter of an itinerant political science professor--they never live in the same place for more than a few months. Her rootless existence and incredibly eclectic reading habits have given her a unique perspective on the world, and a ready comparison or analysis for almost any situation. When she finds herself taken under the wing of a mysterioso Intro to Film teacher named Hannah Schneider, however, Blue's life takes a number of unexpected turns, and she may have to solve a murder before heading for Harvard. Don't expect a neat resolution, but be prepared for a final exam.

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