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The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet Hardcover – 7 May 2009


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Harvill Secker; First Edition edition (7 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184655277X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846552779
  • Product Dimensions: 20.5 x 3.4 x 23.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 114,543 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

`Larson has made an impressive mark ... spectacularly funny' -- The Sunday Times

`Think Tom Sawyer with a passion for empirical science... one of the most original books of the year' -- Metro

`a remarkable creation, a thing of great beauty' -- Me and My Big Mouth

`one of the year's most original and delightful books' -- Metro

'Terrific and frequently hilarious. A novel in which truth and love throb at the corners of our eyes.'
-- Standpoint

`Obsessionality has its charms and Reif Larsen's debut novel is certainly engaging in its way'
-- The Sunday Times

`Reif Larsen's wonderful original debut, destined to please readers of all ages, is the Next Big Thing... ' -- Irish Times

`Takes this novel beyond the accepted margins of literature...a cross between Thomas Pynchon and Little Miss Sunshine'
-- Dazed and Confused

`a remarkable creation, a thing of great beauty'
-- New Arrivals

`wilfully original and diverting ... you can see exactly why it caused publishers to sit up. It is charming and kooky' -- Observer

Review

'Terrific and frequently hilarious. A novel in which truth and love throb at the corners of our eyes.'

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 39 people found the following review helpful By M. K. Burton VINE VOICE on 5 May 2009
Format: Hardcover
Tecumseh Sparrow Spivet is a twelve-year-old genius living on a farm in the midwest. His mother, Dr. Clair, is a scientist searching for a rare beetle. His father is a farmer and cowboy. T.S. likes to think of himself as a mapmaker. He doesn't just draw maps of land, though, he draws maps of everything from facial expressions to gunshots. One day, he takes a phone call from the Smithsonian Institute and discovers that he has been selected for the prestigious Baird award, for which his friend Dr. Yorn has nominated him. That phone call prompts T.S. to sneak on trains in his quest to get to Washington, D.C., to give a speech and accept his award. Along the way, he meets a number of strange characters and makes a series of important realizations about his life, his age, and most importantly, his family.

I'm not sure there are words to describe how I felt about this book. I haven't seen many blog reviews around and I'm really wondering why. This book is phenomenal. T.S. is a stunning character. He is clearly a genius but clearly a child at the same time; he makes amazing conclusions but then his child-logic can't always keep up with his scientific mind. I found this fascinating. I'm no genius, but I truly felt that with T.S. I was having a peek into the mind of someone like Stephen Hawking, although much more understandable.

This book isn't for people who dislike footnotes, though. Me, I love footnotes, and this book is full of them, although usually on the sides, along with T.S.'s maps and observations. In my opinion, these little asides added immeasurably to the main story even if they required me to read a little bit slower.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Strong Cheddar on 4 May 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a very original book. The story of an eleven year old invited to take up a position with the Smithsonian Institute, who don't realise he is only a child. It is illustrated throughout with his doodles and maps because he's obsessed with mapping out and detailing everything he comes across, in order to help him make sense of life. At times, particularly at the beginning, you might think this is a children's book but the more you read the more you appreciate the worldliness and poignancy of his voice. Given that all the illustrations were done by the author this is a massive feat of both writing and art and I highly recommend it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Note yet finished the book but I am thoroughly enjoying it - a good read. It's fun an beautifully illustrated with many marginal notes - T.S.'s thoughts and illustrated diagrams and plans. These make the book very unusual. Beautiful language used and very descriptive - "there was the smell of the train itself, the spiralic fumes of oil and grease and metal grinding....it was a funny mixture of smells, but after a while...this landscape of olfaction gently faded back into the canvas of perception..."
Good story so far.

K
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a fabulous book for children and adults to dive in and get completely lost in a fantastic world, which could be real, or maybe not ... lovely layout, great to read on the sides and the drawings. Laughed a lot and couldn't put it aside. The end is a bit dull, or what I didn't expect - but I think, it is very difficult indeed to find a fitting ending for a book like this. Highly recommend it, bought several as gifts and forwarded my own on !
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Peter Lee TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 15 Jun. 2009
Format: Hardcover
It looks amazing - an oversized hardback, filled with illustrations in the margins, endpapers and on the chapter titles, and the detail is just incredible. You could happily spend a few hours flicking through the pages, looking at the sketches and maps.

But what of the story? Sadly, this is where the book disappoints.

The book tells the story of Tecumseh Sparrow Spivet, a twelve year-old boy who loves to draw maps and plans. A friend of his family sends some of TS's maps to the Smithsonian on Washington DC and, to his surprise, TS is invited to speak at an event as he has won a major award for his work. He proceeds to travel across America to the event on his own by hiding on freight trains, his family unaware of his passage.

The first section deals with TS's home life, and we read of the death of his brother, Layton (whose name TS hides in many of his maps - look out for it) in an accident with a rifle. The book is extremely good here, drawing the reader in, and although the book's primary failing - more on that later - is immediately apparent, it is still immersive.

The middle section drags badly. TS rides across the country in a winnebago inside a freight train, and the book slows to a crawl. This may be intentional, the author trying to illustrate TS's boredom by also boring the reader a little, but my word, it drags. TS reads from a notebook his mother owned and finds that she has written the story of the family, but personally I confess that I found these sections overlong and of little consequence.

Eventually, TS arrives in Washington for his big moment, and... I won't reveal what happens. The book is nicely rounded off, but there's still a nagging feeling that it should have all been so much better.
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