Wednesday, 28 December 2011

The Broken Teaglass by Emily Arsenault

In the maze of cubicles at Samuelson Company, editorial assistant Billy Webb struggles to focus while helping to prepare the next edition of a dictionary. But there are distractions. He senses that something suspicious is going on beneath this company’s academic fa├žade. What’s more, his (possibly) flirtatious co-worker Mona Minot has just made a startling discovery: a trove of puzzling citations, all taken from the same book, The Broken Teaglass. Billy and Mona soon learn that no such book exists. And the quotations read like a confession, coyly hinting at a hidden identity, a secret liaison, a crime. As Billy and Mona try to unearth the truth, the puzzle begins to take on bigger meaning for both of them, compelling them to redefine their notions of themselves and each other.

The Broken Teaglass is at once a literary mystery, a cautious love story, and an ingenious suspense novel that will delight fans of brilliantly inventive fiction

 Emily Arsenault’s debut book was dreamy, dark and dreary. Just like In Search of Rose Notes, which I have read, loved and reviewed here
 I love the 3 D’s and I immensely enjoyed this book.
As emotionally satisfying as In search of rose notes, this book had a bonus delight.
It centred on words.
The mystery, the plot and the setting were all about words.
Set in Samuelson Company, a dictionary publisher’s office, the book follows College graduate Billy Webb as he lives a lonely existence in the cubicle till his colleague colleague Mona Minot stumbles upon citation from a novel called The Broken Teaglass. Each cit seems to tell a story that may reveal a past secret, buried deep in the grim office.
I haven’t read many books with male protagonists but Billy was cool. Highest form of praise I can give a dude.
With oddball characters and a plot brimming with suspense The Broken Teaglass is a literary puzzle and a coming-of-age novel with a dark and subtle sense of humour.
P.S - Another reason I totally love this book with every fibre of my being is that it introduced me to LEXICOGRAPHY!
I am 19 and totally clueless plus aimless about life and career and crap, but every once in a while I come across super-fun sounding jobs.
For example, right now I want to be a writer on a NBC sitcom. (And subsequently have a three-way with Amy Poehler and Will Arnett.)
30 Rock may or may not have influenced this decision.
Anyhoo, after reading The Broken Teaglass, I think it’d be SWEET if I was a lexicographer. Turns out they just have to read a bunch of magazines of their choice all the time and not really talk to people.
 I think it was a job specifically designed for me.
P.P.S- Another fun part of this book was all these random people calling the office and sending them letters etc with completely random and hilarious inquiries. That shit was gold.
P.P.P.S- Some might find pacing problems with this because the plot kind of moves along really slow. I savoured every bit but just wanted to put this out there. 


  1. I hadn't heard of this before but it sounds totally awesome! Thanks for introducing me to it -- I'll have to get my hands on a copy. I'm a new follower :)

  2. Ooh, I haven't heard of this before. I'm going to run off to Amazon in a second and add it to my wishlist.

    Being a lexicographer sounds amazing, I'd definitely look into it, haha!



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