Special Topics in Calamity Physics

Novel by Marisha Pessl


Special Topics in Calamity Physics is the debut novel by American writer Marisha Pessl. The book was first published in August 2006 by Viking Press, a division of Penguin Group. The book received many positive reviews and was named one of "The 10 Best Books of 2006" by the New York Times. Some negative reviews, including one in The Guardian, accused the text of being overly stylized and Pessl of having "a tin ear for prose." In 2007, Variety reported that a movie version was in the works, to be produced by Scott Rudin and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, the writing-directing team behind Half Nelson, however the project never progressed to filming.
The book is written in the style of the syllabus for an English Literature course and includes references as footnotes. The chapters are named after novels like Othello, A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man, Wuthering Heights, Women in Love. While the book is replete with literary and cinematic references, some of these references, like "The Way of the Moth" and "One Night Stand" lead to non-existent sources.
It won the inaugural John Sargent, Sr. First Novel Prize in 2006.

First Published


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