Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas Canongate, HK$104 First things first. Our Tragic Universe is meant to look like that: the border of each page is coloured black, so the book itself looks either empty or infinite. Meg Carpenter is a clever but directionless writer and book reviewer who longs to dump her lazy, self-centred boyfriend, Christopher, and shack up with handsome but married Rowan. She also wants to write something serious and, for want of a better word, original. Then she reviews The Science of Living Forever by Kelsey Newman, who posits a theory which argues that humans are already dead and the earth is a form of purgatory. This changes Meg's life. She decides the problem with the story she is struggling to finish is its reliance on plot. Resolving to write a storyless-story, Meg tries to reconstruct her universe anew: there are such odd plot points as a knitting pattern in the shape of the universe and a strange wild beast on Dartmoor. But the main fun - or pain - of Meg's metaphysical adventures is that they go nowhere - and not very fast. Personally, I found it brilliant and thought-provoking - though less fun than Thomas' last novel, the brilliant, thought-provoking The End of Mr Y.