Core Cirriculum: Marisha Pessl at the Booksmith on Thursday

Marisha Pessl: Hot & High-Rollin'

Book critics and the lit bloggers are all a-buzz over the huge cash advance Marisha Pessl was paid for her debut, Special Topics in Calamity Physics. Despite what most agree is a disappointing, rocky start, the novel blooms into an addictive, Nobokov-esqe (and god knows Word Up will sink its teeth into anything Nabokovian--seriously, anything) thriller about a boarding school with a sinister past. Comparisons to Donna Tartt’s excellent The Secret History (another fave) are well-justified, and the Jonathan Safran Foer references (Nina hearts JSF, but we've grown bored of his wunder-kid status--bring on the fresh meat!) make sense, too. Pessl employs a series of (some might say gimmicky) narrative tricks to spellbound readers, and she’s the latest doe-eyed literary marvel to watch. Go see her tomorrow night at the Brookline Booksmith, 279 Harvard Ave, Brookline | 7 pm | free | 617.566.6660.

Now that our BFF Ash is wasting away, we feel a new girl-crush on Marisha coming on...

* NYTBR: "Whoever coined the phrase 'everybody loves a winner' probably wasn’t one. When the news came out that a distractingly pretty actress, playwright and Barnard College graduate named Marisha Pessl, only 27, had sold her first book (which she also illustrated)...for a substantial sum, the pick-a-little, talk-a-little publishing blog brigade went into conniptions."
* Salon: "Special Topics, for all its overeager freshman infelicities, is a real novel, one of substance and breadth, with an arresting story and that rarest of delights, a great ending."
* The Globe: "Part mystery, part suspense, and part psychological drama, this is, at its heart, a book about relationships--both real and imagined--and the desperate need to belong."

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