Friday, July 10, 2009

What I thought of the Selected Works of T.S. Spivet:


The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larsen
This is an innovative work of pure awesome (am I the only person still using “awesome” in every day speech? Answer: probably, yes.). The language is fresh and humorous (unlike “awesome”), and the story is complex and distinctive. And I didn’t even mention the best part yet. Because it is about a twelve-year old cartographer prodigy, of course there has to be illustrations. And not just drab pages of pictures, no. These illustrations are fully integrated into the story and occur on the margins of the text (making the book an unusual and pleasant shape: a little wider than a regular novel). The pictures range from child-like sketches to intricate drawings to photographs. I have included one of my favorites above because who can’t help but giggle at a grown man dancing (sorry guys, unless you’re Fred Astaire, it’s pretty funny)? The picture is disappointingly smaller than I expected, so I guess you'll just have to check the book out to get the full effect- dancing men, page364. As I said before, the book is about a young prodigy who wins an award for his cartographic brilliance. He’s embarrassed to tell his parents, so instead hitches a ride on a train and the bildungsroman begins. T.S. Spivet is a fully imagined character with flaws and personality. Reif Larsen always keeps in mind that his protagonist is twelve, albeit a very intelligent twelve-year-old, so the voice is mature, but his age shines through as well making for a multi-dimensional ride. So yes, there are a few loose ends, but I would say the experience as a whole is, well, an experience. When was the last time you read a book that you can call an experience? Exactly. I highly recommend this unique and wonderful book.

Everything is Fiction.

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