storyless stories

The recent talk about the definition of a ‘story’ reminds me of a book I read sometime last year called, “Our Tragic Universe,” by Scarlett Thomas. In her book, Thomas attempts to create a ‘storyless story’, something which makes the book incredibly frustrating to read, as you are constantly looking for clues as to what leads you are meant to be following, when really none exist. There is no story, simply a sequence of events, but because the format is a book, you look for something to follow as you trust that there will be a conclusion and that ultimately everything will tie together somehow. When it doesn’t, you realise (with some amount of distaste for Thomas) that no promises were ever made to you. There’s no contract that says that just because there’s some writing in a book, there has to be a full, functioning story. It’s frustrating, but I think it makes a good point about the connections we make and the assumptions that come with them. There was no story in Thomas’ book, just a recount of life.


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