Monkeys with Typewriters

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A manual for reading and writing better that explores the great plots from Plato to The Matrix and Tolstoy to Toy Story, from the acclaimed author of The End of Mr. Y and Our Tragic Universe  

Exploring how fiction works, this manual shows you how you can learn to understand it well enough to crack open any fictional narrative, and, if you like, start creating your own. Have you ever had your heart broken, or broken someone else's heart? Have you ever won an argument but later realized you were wrong? Have you ever tripped in public or spilled wine on someone else's carpet? Have you ever tried to help someone who didn't want to be helped—or even someone who did? Have you ever been in trouble, big or small? Have you ever felt trapped? Have you ever gossiped, felt bad about it, and then found that you've been the subject of gossip yourself? Have you ever basically felt like a chimp in a pair of jeans, caught up in endless drama and with no idea of how the universe works? This is an ode to secret power of stories, and a guide to cracking those powers open. 


Scarlett Thomas's novels include The End of Mr.Y, which was longlisted for the Orange Prize; Our Tragic Universe; and PopCo. In 2002 she won Best New Writer in the Elle Style Awards.


"Scarlett Thomas's prose is so addictive you can't help but fall deeper and deeper under her spell. How does she do it? She is a genius." —Douglas Coupland on Our Tragic Universe"Thomas brilliantly reminds us that, despite popular representations, many women are actually staying up half the night talking ideas. One feels alone. And then one reads Our Tragic Universe." —Jincy Willett, author, Winner of the National Book Award, on Our Tragic Universe"[S]mart, stylish and dizzying. . . . an accomplished, impressive thought experiment for the 21st Century."  —New York Times Book Review on The End of Mr. Y"Literary manna for would-be philosophy nerds. There are little, 100-percent-literary sugar plums to be found in its pages."  — on The End of Mr. Y