Special Topics in Calamity Physics
|Special Topics in Calamity Physics|
|Genre(s)||Murder mystery novel|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Dewey Decimal||813/.6 22|
|LC Classification||PS3616.E825 S67 2006|
Special Topics in Calamity Physics (2006) is a novel by American writer Marisha Pessl. It is the author's debut novel. The book was first published in August 2006 by Viking Press, a division of Penguin Group. The book received many positive reviews and was named one of "The 10 Best Books of 2006" by the New York Times. Some negative reviews, including one in The Guardian, accused the text of being overly stylized and Pessl of having "a tin ear for prose." A movie version is in the works and is rumored to be produced by Scott Rudin. The film will be directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, the writing-directing team behind Half Nelson.
The book is written in the style of the syllabus for an English Literature course and includes references as footnotes. The chapters are named after novels like Othello, A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man, Wuthering Heights, Women in Love. While the book is replete with literary and cinematic references, some of these references, like "The Way of the Moth" and "One Night Stand" lead to non-existing sources.
 Plot introduction
Blue van Meer is the film-obsessed, erudite teenager. She is the daughter of itinerant and arrogant academic Gareth van Meer, who, after the death of his amateur lepidopteran-catching wife (and Blue's mother), never manages to stay at a college for more than a semester. During Blue's senior year, however, they settle in the sleepy town of Stockton, North Carolina. She starts to attend the St. Gallway School and befriends a group of popular, rich, and mysterious teenagers called the Bluebloods. The Bluebloods are also close friends with the film studies teacher at St. Gallway, Hannah Schneider, a perplexing woman who intrigues Blue. After Schneider dies, seemingly by suicide. Blue is left to determine why.
- Book Website*
- Viking Press's web page about Special Topics in Calamity Physics
- Salon.com's review of Special Topics in Calamity Physics
- Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl, reviewed by Ted Gioia (The New Canon)
- The 10 Best Books of 2006
- Precocious Realism an extremely detailed review in Slate