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S. Hardcover – October 29, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 472 pages
  • Publisher: Mulholland Books; Slp edition (October 29, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316201642
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316201643
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 6.4 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (312 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The best-looking book I've ever seen. . . . The book is so perfectly realized that it's easy to fall under its spell. . . . If you want to write a romantic mystery meta-novel in which two bibliophiles investigate the conspiracy around an enigmatic Eastern European author, you couldn't choose a better team." --Joshua Rothan, New Yorker

"Impressively smart, engaging . . . Filled with secrets and stories that are endlessly beguiling and inviting . . . Reading S., and trying to decode everything [was] an incredibly enjoyable, fun experience, as well as a particularly immersive one. . . . For all its mysteries and intrigues, this is a book about the value of books, and what they can offer us that other storytelling mediums cannot." --Wired

"S. is gorgeous, a masterpiece of verisimilitude. . . . The book's spiritual cousin is A.S. Byatt's Possession. . . . The brilliance of S. is less in its showy exterior than the intimate and ingeniously visual way it shows how others' words become pathways to our lives and relationships." --Washington Post

"Both as literature and as a physical object, S. is a profound and tremendous work of art. . . . Brilliantly conceived and perfectly executed, the book harkens back to a golden age of storytelling. . . . An audacious literary achievement that calls to mind Vladimir Nabokov's Pale Fire, Chris Ware's Building Stories and even Charles Portis' Masters of Atlantis." --Miami Herald

"Reading S. is fun, and the book feels alive . . . Gloriously embroidered with marginalia and jammed with artifacts inserted between its pages . . . A celebration of the book as a physical thing." --Chicago Tribune

"Both as literature and as a physical object, S. is a profound and tremendous work of art."—The Miami Herald

About the Author

Emmy-Award-winning filmmaker J.J. Abrams has produced, directed, or written films and television shows including Fringe, Lost, Alias, Felicity, Star Trek, Cloverfield, Mission: Impossible, and more.

Doug Dorst teaches writing at Texas State University-San Marcos. He is the author of the PEN/Hemingway-nominated novel Alive in Necropolis and the collection The Surf Guru. His work has appeared in McSweeney's, Ploughshares, Epoch, and elsewhere. Dorst is also a three-time Jeopardy! champion.

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Customer Reviews

V.M. Straka – an enigmatic author of the novel Ship of Theseus, the book which serves as stage to this mystery.
H. Parker Smith III
I may read better stories this year, but I don't know if I will get this much shear enjoyment out of reading a book for a long time to come.
IndianaJane
I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys reading, this is a book within a book that will stimulate the imagination.
ED HUGGARD

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

685 of 717 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I read a lot of books, and I often love what I read, but I literally (no pun intended) have not been this excited about reading a book since I was a kid. It's not just the story (or should I say stories), or all the ephemera and the clever, well-produced presentation. It's how it all combines to actually make you feel like you're in on it. That you're trying to figure it all out right along with Jen and Eric. Reading and re-reading The Ship of Theseus for clues and inferences to what's happening in the "real world". The whole time watching as J&E's relationship evolves. Then, if you're really adventurous, and you start tapping Google to expand your research, you'll find that the experience goes beyond the book. (Google: Eotvos Wheel) ***I HIGHLY SUGGEST YOU DO THIS***

I'll admit: when I opened the book for the first time, the second thought that went through my mind (after "How frigging cool is this?") was, "How the heck am I gonna read this?"

So, for those of you asking that same question, let me tell you how I went about it:

As cool as all the inserts are, trying to keep them from falling out of the book as you're reading is a pain, so take them out and use post-it notes to mark what page they came from, then put them in an envelope that you can easily access.

Now, J&E's notes are not entirely in chronological order. You can generally go by the color of the ink between them to tell what phase of their story you're at.

First, there's Eric's pencil notes to himself about the actual book. Then, the convo between J&E begins when Jen picks up Eric's book and sees his notes and begins commenting on them in the margins. He sees this and writes back.
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168 of 180 people found the following review helpful By H. Parker Smith III on November 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
S. is one of the best books I’ve read. Period. But I believe I feel differently than the average reviewer because I made the conscious decision that I was going to “believe” before I started reading. You see, you can only enjoy this book if you go in accepting that you are not its first owner and that what you are reading was not intended for your eyes. The ability to become an active participant instead of a passive reader, I would imagine, is the difference between loving this book and hating it. I fall so far onto the “love” side of the spectrum that I simply cannot wait to read it again.

S. is really a story about 6 principal characters:

• S. – The main character in the novel "Ship of Theseus" who is suffering from amnesia. The novel follows S. as he desperately tries to figure out who he is and what his significance is to both the Ship of Theseus and the various ports at which it docks.

• V.M. Straka – an enigmatic author of the novel Ship of Theseus, the book which serves as stage to this mystery.

• The Translator (FXC) – a historian of Straka’s works who not only translates his novels into a variety of different languages but also pens commentary in the form of footnotes throughout Ship of Theseus.

• Eric – an exhausted theorist who believes the mystery of “Who is V.M. Straka” can be solved via subtext clues cleverly embedded throughout Ship of Theseus

• Jen – a student who stumbles upon Eric’s copy of Ship of Theseus and who’s penchant for researching the obscure and who's fresh perspective on the tale helps reveal that the initial question of “Who is V.M. Straka” is only the tip of a very, VERY large iceberg.

• YOU – You are the 3rd handler of this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Even with that as the background, the book is a bit overwhelming when you try to tackle it. There are all the clue pieces, the dialogue between Eric and Jen and then the story itself. I was having a tough time trying to read the story and the banter while keeping it all together in my head. I decided to pull out the clue pieces(catalog the pages they are stuck between, it's important) and just read the story ignoring Jen and Eric. It's hard to do but I think it helps. The idea being I will read the story first, as Jen did, then go over it a second time reading Jen and Eric's banter at which point the clue pieces will be introduced. This will give me a greater depth of knowledge when trying to put the clues together.

I have not completed the story and don't want to drop any spoilers so this review is more of a guide book on how I thought the best way was to tackle the mystery. I'm sure other people will have different ideas and my plan may change as I progress so I will add updates as I move through the process.

If anyone reading this has a better ideas or thoughts to share please comment below, would love your feedback.

Ian

EDIT:
1) If you elect to read the book as I am(story first), DO NOT read Eric and Jen's banter. Clues are dropped that you will not want revealed.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By MattZ on December 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover
My favorite TV shows are J.J. Abrams shows (Alias, LOST, Fringe, Alcatraz, Revolution, Person of Interest, Almost Human), so I was very excited when word first broke that he was coming out with a book.

I was only able to get through 200 pages of S. before deciding to put it down. Reading it felt like a chore: first, read the book, then go back and read the handwriting in black/blue ink, then go back and read the handwriting in orange/green ink, etc. In addition, based on other reviews on here, as well as what I've read on [...] you don't really find out an answer at the end of the book. Instead they're continuing to release information, and you have to scour the Internet for additional information. While others may be interested in this scavenger hunt, I am not. I don't want to finish a book and not have closure, only to find out that additional information has been released a month later. When I'm done with a book, I'm done with it. I move on to the next one. If it was a good book, I'll revisit it down the road. I don't want to have to keep checking some website because new information has been released.

I give it three stars for creativity, but this is one time where I won't jump on the Abrams bandwagon.
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