The End of Mr. Y is a novel by Scarlett Thomas, published in 2006 and probably best categorized as a science fiction novel. The novel follows the adventures of one Ariel Mantlo, a doctorate student in literature, who is investigating a supposedly cursed book known as "The End of Mr. Y". As she begins to investigate the book, she discovers that the plot of the book, which involves taking a magic potion to access a world of mind and thought, is true, and her life quickly becomes much more complicated.
Having said as much as I can from the neutral point of view, I have to let my snotty hipster style take over. This book seems to be an attempt to write one of those mindfuck books, with elements such as the recursive reference to the book within the book (as in infinite jest and The Neverending Story). The book has lots of lengthy sections where post-structuralism, post-modernism and quantum physics are discussed, mixed in with scenes of virtual reality that seem to be taken from Neuromancer, Snow Crash, or perhaps The Matrix. And in the books attempts at social realism, the protagonist has to overcome the fact that she grew up poor and likes rough sex. All of this, even after it has been mashed together, is ground that seems overly familiar to me. Perhaps if I was a teenager reading this book in the late 1990s, or even the early part of this decade, all of it would seem groundbreaking. As it is, it seemed to be trying too hard, without breaking any real new ground.