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Critical Praise

"Donna Tartt goes postmodern in this eclectically intellectual murder mystery ... The writing is clever, the text rich with subtle literary allusion ...Sharp, snappy fun for the literary-minded."


"The novel is generating a great deal of buzz that will excite the curiosity of readers who enjoy postmodern excesses and indulgences of this sort."


"Special Topics In Calamity Physics has been the recipient of much well-deserved buzz in the book community.  There can be little doubt of Pessl's talent, and her very clever debut undoubtedly marks the beginning of what is sure to be a long and successful career."


"All the stars seem aligned for the twenty-something author."

"A stunning debut ... it's a campy, knowing take on the themes that made The Secret History and Prep such massive bestsellers, a wry send up of most of the Western canon and, most importantly, a sincere and uniquely twisted look at love, coming of age and identity."

Publishers Weekly (Starred review)

"Marisha Pessl's Special Topics In Calamity Physics is the most flashily erudite first novel since Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything Is Illuminated ... A whirling, glittering, multifaceted marvel, delivered in an irrepressibly smart and flamboyant new voice ... Q: Is Special Topics In Calamity Physics required reading for devotees of inventive new fiction? A: Yes."

The New York Times

"Witty and exuberant, it is part coming-of-age story, part road-trip adventure, part idiosyncratic Great Books survey, with dashes of romantic comedy and murder mystery thrown in ... Such pyrotechnics place the author alongside young, eclectic talents like Dave Eggers, Jonathan Safran Foer, and Zadie Smith."


"This blockbuster debut, over 500 pages chock-full of literary and pop cultural references and illustrations by Pessl herself, demands attention."

People (Critics Choice)