Popco by Scarlett Thomas
I adore every Scarlett Thomas book I have read. ADORE. Even though I don’t understand a lot of the more scientific/mathematical/philosophical arenas that Thomas’s books always venture into, I feel like I’m stretching my brain just by reading about these theorems and super-smart theorists.
I also always love Thomas’s female protagonists: there’s something in these women that pulls me to them. I’m not sure if it’s empathy, or shared world vision, or similar life circumstances, or some sort of nameless shared loneliness, but her female characters win me over 100%. Not to mention her prose: Thomas is an amazing writer, and I’m always surprised that she’s not a bigger deal. I highly, highly, recommend her.
This book follows Alice, a “creative” for the children’s toy company PopCo. The book jumps between Alice in the present-day (while she’s on a company brainstorming retreat/team-builder of sorts) and Alice as a young girl, working to help her grandfather crack the code on a notoriously difficult coded manuscript. I’m fascinated by cryptography, so this book held me captive on many counts. Young Alice is as equally compelling as Adult Alice, and I wanted to spend time with them both, even after the story had ended.
This might have been my favorite Thomas novel (that I’ve read) to date, followed by Our Tragic Universe and The End of Mr. Y.Put her on your to-read list.