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S. Hardcover – October 29, 2013
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"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
Doug Dorst teaches writing at Texas State University. 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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
What an engaging and original concept. One Book with two different, but interlocking, stories.
I preordered this book with little to no information on what is was about and boy what a glad surprise. For some time I was looking for a good mystery with a nice pacing and an original story. S. may seem a complicated book to read due to the numerous notes, commentaries and chats scribbled in almost every page, but once you get the right pace the reading is extremely fun and engaging.
What's the best MO to read this book? Try it this way:
Read each chapter of the Ship of Thesus, ignoring all of Jen & Eric's notes. Upon finishing each chapter, go back and read only the blue/black notes and any referenced inserts. Then, move on to the next chapter. After you finish the whole book, go back and read only the orange/green notes and referenced inserts. Then purple/red, then black/black.
The books add-ons with maps, postal cards, xerox pages, newspaper bits, business cards, napkins etc. only add more to the realistic concept envisioned by JJ. It even smells like an old library book with all the stains and mark you expect to see on a worn book. The notes, commentaries and chatting are written in what looks like marker felt and ink pen, there's even some notes written in pencil. Incredible design with top notch materials.
Actually, the concept is so well thought that, as you read the book, you feel right in the story. It's like you're the third reader following along the notes and commentaries written on the pages.
I would definitely recommend this book. The best book I read in 2013.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've bought two of this book. One for a friend and one for myself. Love it soooo much!!! Very interesting book!!Published 12 days ago by Amazon Customer
Tried a few times to get into this book. It reads as a 'four d novel' and you explore the exploits of the story and the two people trying to get to the bottom of the mystery. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Kindle Customer
Read the book for what it’s worth. That is my personal warning to you. The book hangs like a cipher to be decoded, but I advise you to resist that temptation. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Debbie Tam
I wanted to like the book and the idea of a book that really has to be a book - not an e-book - The central mysteries of the book are never solved! Read morePublished 1 month ago by Max Oldham
Freakin amazing book. I love books like this ever since I read a house of leaves. It may be a little difficult to follow at first because you need to read the margins, the book... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Aristodemus
The details are amazing! It's not a book only good to read. It's a book satisfied your desire of explore and deduction!Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer