It was on sale for seven dollars, otherwise, I probably would not have purchased a 2-pound book. Not even for vacation. But Marisha Pessl’s tome Special Topics in Calamity Physics zips along like the best of its lighter kin. The first part of the novel is a coming-of-age story about the precocious but lonely Blue van Meer. This narrator peppers her tale with enough literary references to make even a hard-core academic’s head spin. It’s all in good fun, though, and this novel is indeed fun. The second part is a mystery story, so if teenage life doesn’t interest you, there’s blood and mayhem. Really, when a novel is 500-plus-pages long, there’s something for everyone.
Bio: Erica Wright is the poetry editor at Guernica. Her “interview with John Ashbery”:https://guernicamag.com/interviews/507/houses_at_night_1/, “Houses at Night,” appeared in Guernica’s February 2008 issue. Read her last recommendation of the book The Anthologist “here”:https://guernicamag.com/blog/1662/rec_room_erica_wright_the_anth/.