Our Tragic Universe, By Scarlett Thomas

The unbearable lightness of a 'storyless story'

Meg, a book reviewer and struggling novelist, is stuck on a story.

She is also stuck on life: her boyfriend, Christopher, is self-centred and useless; she has the hots for the much older, more sympathetic but married Rowan, and her friends are involved in various affairs. Having mistakenly reviewed The Science of Living Forever by a new-age scientist called Kelsey Newman, which suggests that striving for anything at all is pointless, Meg struggles to get out of the morass that is her personal life.

Scarlett Thomas is excellent on emotional tangles and meandering plotlines that still manage to mean something, but there's a busy, chattery element to this "storyless story" that after a while begins to sound like just so much noise.