It made me want to say, “you cheeky–!”. I don’t mean this in a bad way.

Here is a picture of my copy of Mr. Y:


You may judge me. But I love books. I love books and I believe that they become precious not of themselves, but in the context of the humans who read or don’t read them. I folded these pages because these pages were the ones that made me really feel. Either feel a thing in the book, or feel my own existence and location and presence very sharply. For a lot of this book I was sitting at Cafe Ritazza in Birmingham New Street station. I had a green tea, and a breakfast tea, and I had each at a different table. I was waiting for my honey, to go away alone together.

The End of Mr Y is a book that I spoke about once before on twitter; I said something like “Today I bought a book that the blurb says includes sex and time travel. I’ll let you know if it also includes a disappointed queeb sound”. But this is no Knight Moves.

I think that I would have enjoyed this book exactly the same amount when I was seventeen, but in a different way. When I was seventeen, I was in love with philosophy. Consequentially I was a massive dick to everyone and hated my philosophy lessons (not my teacher) because they, and exams, were all about learning exactly what this old white man said and this old white man said and this and this and write it down with the proper terms and no, this is NOT about actually using your thinking brain to “do philosophy”, we’re busy with learning dry facts right now!

I cried. And I got an E. Oh my goodness, I hated school so much by the end.

The End of Mr Y is not about sex, it’s about how it’s main character feels about sex. And a little about how some other people feel about sex. It’s not frightening.

I bought the book, in Oxfam books (I always try to write about books I liked particularly, because I never buy them new. I can’t afford to), because it looked and sounded like a trashy Steampunk novel. I have some problems with Steampunk-mainstream and I’ve been challenging myself a little recently on that; I thought this would be a good chance to push that. I also picked it up because the pages are edged with black. That looks really cool.

Actually the previous book with black-edged pages I read I also really liked. King Death, by Toby Litt. I borrowed that one from my Dad. It’s a very kind book, but not in an exactly normal way, and not cloying. It has murder and inter-cultural relationships/relationship problems.

It’s not a steampunk book, though. It’s a “how does it feel to think” book. Or a “How does it feel to think, if you are ‘Ariel Manto'” book.

Here are some pages. Maybe I wouldn’t have enjoyed this section of the book so much when I was in school. Maybe the atmosphere would have cut too close to the bone.








So glad to be a grown-up.



I recommend that you read and/or buy The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas.

Boots: Dr Martens, trousers, eBay, shirt: cast-off from sister’s friend, jacket: Topshop (modified), hat: Debenhams, bag: 60s vintage, sunglasses: Boots

The socks in my pocket are just some socks. I found them in the leg of my trousers when I got back from the market. I guess they’d been there all the time.

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About Claire Napier

Real cool gal
This entry was posted in admiration, anachronisms that are, bollocks, books, character design, characters, children are the future, complimenting the professionals, DO IT FOR ME, feminism, fine bri'ish tradishuns, history, learning, me, photographs not drawings, protests, self-tagging, serious matters, SPOILERS, stories, STRONG OPINIONS, themes, things i hate, wearing today, where i buy. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to

  1. Sherin says:

    I did philosophy at University for a term. Hated learning about what random old men said as well!
    I love books as well! I actually read most of a book in 1 sitting last night because it was just soooo good. I definitely get that folded down pages that you loved. I think I’ll definitely pick up The End of Mr Y soon.
    Also love the shirt. And awesome sunglasses.

    • illusclaire says:

      I liked *hearing* what the old men had to say I guess.. I just wanted to immediately concentrate on what I thought about what they said. Not memorise who said it and who they said it to and when and which new words they invented for it. I wanted concepts, not frameworks! I keep thinking I should get down and read some philosophy just for myself, to see if it’s different now.

      If you do, I definitely want to hear about what you thought! What was the book you read last night?

      Thanks! X]

  2. Pingback: My Illustrative Life

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