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The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet download epub

by Reif Larsen

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The Selected Works of . Spivet is the debut novel by American author Reif Larsen, first published in 2009. The book follows the exploits of a 12-year-old mapmaker named .

The Selected Works of . The book is noteworthy for its unique design; the plot-line is illustrated with images which further the narrative by providing charts, lists.

Reif Larsen (born 1980) is an American author, known for The Selected Works of . Spivet, for which Vanity Fair claimed Larsen received just under a million dollars as an advance from Penguin Press following a bidding war between ten publishing houses. Larsen was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Both his parents were artists. He graduated from Milton Academy in 1998 and then went on to Brown University and Columbia University.

Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult. Exhibit A: a typical page of The Selected Works of . Then there is the premise – . is preposterously precocious and his brilliance at only 12 is almost too hard to believe

Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult. Publisher: Penguin Press HC Publication date: May 7th 2009 Hardcover: 375 pages. is preposterously precocious and his brilliance at only 12 is almost too hard to believe. Major points to the author then that this is not really a problem and . as a character, is quite possibly the best thing about the book – he is charming, funny, creative and even, endearing.

In this book, Reif Larsen has created a story so beautiful in its simplicity and at the same time, filled with . Either way, despite my hesitation, The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet was a great read.

In this book, Reif Larsen has created a story so beautiful in its simplicity and at the same time, filled with layers and layers of complexity. This book reminds me of ancient artifacts, items handled with loving care through time, to be held in your hands with reverence and wonder that something can last so long and be so There are some books that touch me more than others, some characters that I love to love and love to hate. T. was far too charming to dislike, and the illustrations on every page made for an entertaining and interesting read.

Reif Larsen's first novel, The Selected Works of T. Spivet, was a New York Times bestseller and has been translated .

A Montana Honor book, The Selected Works of T. Spivet was a finalist for the IndieBound Award, was short-listed for the Guardian First Book Award and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and was released as a film in France and the United States.

Other readers will always be interested in your opinion of the books you've read. Whether you've loved the book or not, if you give your honest and detailed thoughts then people will find new books that are right for them. 1. I Am Radar: A Novel.

Now comes Reif Larsen's novel, designed like a colour-coded notebook and containing the secret confessions of a. .

Now comes Reif Larsen's novel, designed like a colour-coded notebook and containing the secret confessions of a 12-year-old cartographer. Stephen King has compared it with Thomas Pynchon and Mark Twain, although this doesn't quite capture the novel's unique flavour. It's an over-stuffed and often highly entertaining journey through the American west and beyond from an amusingly precocious narrator. In this modern Western, Spivet takes many forms of transport, from trains to Winnebagos.

A boundary-leaping debut tracing a gifted young map maker’s attempt to understand the ways of the worldWhen twelve-year-old genius cartographer T. S. Spivet receives an unexpected phone call from the Smithsonian announcing he has won the prestigious Baird Award, life as normal—if you consider mapping dinner table conversations normal—is interrupted and a wild cross-country adventure begins, taking T. S. from his family home just north of Divide, Montana, to the museum’s hallowed halls.There are some answers here on the road from Divide and some new questions, too. How does one map the delicate lessons learned about family or communicate the ebbs and flows of heartbreak, loneliness, and love?Now a major motion picture directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and starring Kyle Catlett and Helena Bonham Carter. 

Comments: (7)

I was first attracted to this book many years ago by the cover and the fact that it contains marginalia throughout. It's the story of a 12 year old boy who wins a prestigious award from the Smithsonian Institution and the crazy journey he takes to get the there. In the previous year his younger brother accidentally shot and killed himself and T.S.'s entire remaining family tries unsuccessfully to deal with their grief and each other. It's a great story that I've read about five times. There is one passage in the book that always keeps up nights for about a week thinking about it and I wish there was a way to contact the author and ask him what the answer was to the question, regarding Dr. Clair's letter to T.S.

There's a movie out by the same title which was very good. It's a slightly different story, but still just as good as the book. I recommend both of them.
This is a book about journeys and moving forward with the help of the past.

I'd had this book on my shelf for a while before starting it. I had come across the film (The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet) before, saw it, and really liked it. Later, I stumbled upon this book that had a suspiciously similar title. And so it sat on the shelf until recently.


This is the type of book where, honestly, not a lot happens. A young boy genius of 12 years old, named T.S. Spivet, loves to map everything. He maps the way people eat, how they smile, how they walk, etc. He maps his farm, his room, his house...everything. He even maps out things for the scientific community and submits them with the help of Dr. Yorn, a colleague of his mother. Unbeknownst to T.S., Dr. Yorn submits his illustrations to the Smithsonian in D.C. as a contender for the Baird Award. One afternoon, T.S. gets a call saying that he won. After much consideration, he agrees to accept the award. However, he doesn't want to tell his family, so he decides to travel cross-country via train...from Montana to Washington D.C.

That's really all there is to the plot. In short: A young boy wins a prestigious award and travels across the country to collect it.

The Journey

The real joy I had in this was following the journey of T.S. He's 12 years old and a genius to boot. He's annoying without being pretentious. He's, I think, a believable 12 year old. Like I said earlier, the book is really about the journey and self-discovery. How I interpret the physical journey might be different than how someone else would. For example, T.S. is traveling from West-East, from left-right. Imagining heading right to be a sign of progress, of moving forward (like on a number line), T.S. is moving forward in life. However, he's also traveling backwards. He's going back near to where his ancestors first landed. He's going back to a room full of people like his mother, an entomologist hellbent on discovering a possibly mythical species of beetle. Throughout his journey, T.S. learns that some things just can't be mapped. He reads the story (or true account? we don't know!) of one of his ancestors and how she met the man who began the Tecumseh naming tradition. (T.S. = Tecumseh Sparrow.) He learns that his ancestor was one of the first female geologist in the states. He learns the need for progress existed even back then and continues to exist even today. But he's always running away from the death of his brother, which continually haunts him.

The book juxtaposes the past with the future in brilliant ways. Even in a world where seemingly everything can be mapped or illustrated, there still exists uncertainty. Did he just travel through a wormhole? Did his mother make up the account of his ancestor? Who is this secret gang he's found in Washington D.C.? Who knows? Some things just can't be mapped.
There's something (good) to be said for a novel that tries to be somewhat experimental. I mean, even if it doesn't end up working quite right, I'm always at least willing to tip my hat to the writer for giving it a try.

This novel falls into that category -- while overall, I think I'd describe it as a bit of a failure, I was intrigued by what Larsen was doing (more on that in a sec), thought it was well-written, and really found myself bonding with the main character, a 12 year-old boy named Tecumseh Sparrow Spivet.

Now for the bad news. This novel is about that boy, who mostly just goes by T.S. and who is obsessed with mapping, graphing, charting, and sketching all the things around him. He draws and intricately annotates everything from the city sewer system to the way his sister shucks corn -- there is nothing too complex or too simple to be mapped out by T.S. It's his way, we soon realize, of creating order in a world that, for him, feels far too random, chaotic, and unpredictable.

As the story begins, a university friend of T.S.'s entomologist mother has submitted several of T.S.'s drawings for an award at the Smithsonian. The Smithsonian has been buying Spivet's work for years, not realizing he's only 12 years old. And when he wins this prestigious award, they call him immediately, asking that he come to Washington, D.C. to accept in person and give a lecture.

At first, T.S. is pretty "No way in HELL" about the whole idea. After all, that would blow his cover -- they'd know he was twelve and probably stop working with him altogether. But when his mother makes him angry one night, he decides enough is enough -- home sucks anyway. He packs up his stuff (including all his cartography tools and "oodles of underwear," plus snacks) and hits the road, stealing, at the very last minute, what he thinks is the notebook containing his mother's life work: scientific details about a new beetle she's discovered.

T.S., having done some mapping in the past about hobo signs, decides his best option for getting across the country is riding the rails. He lucks out in boarding the perfect train for the East -- a train carrying brand new Winnebagos, one of which he stakes out as his home for the ride.

And here's where the story kind of spiraled from wonderful to less so. While riding the train, Spivet finally cracks open his mother's notebook and finds inside a biography she's been writing about his great-grandmother, who was a science geek and artist too. As it turns out, his mother's life work has nothing to do with beetles -- she's been trying to write the story of this woman who had so impressed and inspired her, and it's clear from what she's written that she's hoping T.S. will provide the illustrations, something that both heartens him (his mother does value him!) and makes him terrifically sad (and he's just run away from her!).

When the story in this novel is about T.S. and his journey (physical and emotional), the story is brilliant. His explorations of himself, his family, his work, and the world around him are sharp, energetic, incredible, unique. Getting to know T.S. is a joy -- it's pure joy, plain and simple.

The problem is, the story about his great-grandmother, which ends up consuming a huge chunk of the novel, is both commonplace and out of place. By the middle of the book, which is much, much too long, I started to skim all the sections related to that element, and if I had it to do over, I would likely skip that whole tale completely and not, in fact, feel like I'd missed out on anything too terribly important.

The end of this novel is also extraordinarily weak -- so much so, in fact, that I was stunned it had been written by the same guy. I had to wonder if maybe Larsen had gotten to the end of his own book and gotten bored with it himself. "Oh whatever," he might've said around page 400. "Let's wrap this thing up already." Not a good sign, sir.

The "experimental" part of this novel I mentioned above deals with the marginalia. The margins are packed full of Spivet's art -- his scientific drawings, maps, charts, and heartache (take a close look at anything that has to do with his older, beloved brother, for example, whose death T.S. blames himself for).

While I initially loved this feature -- it's what made me pick this book up in the first place, in fact -- I ended up having the same problem with it that I had with the footnotes in Mark Danielewski's HOUSE OF LEAVES: they became a distraction instead of an enhancement. You can't really skip reading them because they're telling part of the story (or, in the infuriating case of HOUSE OF LEAVES, an entire secondary companion story). But at the same time, reading all the margin notes PLUS the text itself becomes an overwhelming task.

Fewer of these annotations would've greatly strengthened the novel overall and enhanced the marginalia itself. It would've made coming across one of T.S.'s drawings a treat instead of a slog. If only a good editor had gotten their hands on this one, I think it could've been absolutely brilliant. Instead, I'll just say something (good) about it as an experiment in fiction, and hope that Larsen's next book takes it all one step further. Or one step back. Or whatever it is I'm trying to say. You get my drift.

Overall, I'd say it's well worth your time. But when the urge hits to start skimming sections, roll with it.
The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet download epub
Genre Fiction
Author: Reif Larsen
ISBN: 0143117351
Category: Literature & Fiction
Subcategory: Genre Fiction
Language: English
Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (April 27, 2010)
Pages: 400 pages