Having enjoyed Scarlett Thomas' The End of Mr Y
I tried her earlier book, PopCo
. Alice is a creative at a toy company, chosen as one of a couple of hundred employees to be sequestered at a country mansion and come up with a new craze for teenage girls. While there she receives a few coded messages which start her off remembering her own teenage years. In some ways the grown-up version of a boys' own story about buried pirate treasure, the first half of the book is actually very enjoyable with lots of background to cryptography and cryptanalysis. Unfortunately once again all of Thomas' credibility goes out the window once she starts waxing lyrical, at length, about the wonders of homeopathy. In Mr Y
at least this wasn't too noticeable because that was essentially a fantasy story so having some of it turn around potions is par for the course; but here we're ostensibly in a real-world environment of corporate-speak and big business. So having this maths genius narrating the story inform us that when she catches a cold it always lasts for an unusually long time it's hard to think anything other than MAYBE IT'S BECAUSE YOU ONLY TRY TO CURE IT WITH MAGIC WATER! By the time the book ends as a heavy-handed anti-corporate rant I found it really quite a disappointment given its strong start.