I love when I book I impulsively purchase out of the blue turns out to be a new favorite.
The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet is probably not a perfect novel. I can imagine there are some persnickety readers who would not like certain aspects of it. I can see how there might be some sections/elements that some people might think don’t belong, or should have been handled differently. However, I loved every part of the book, exactly as it was. I think everything in it adds to the richness of the story.
It’s such a pleasure to find youself 100% engrossed in a novel and its plot. So much so that you don’t want to put it down for a minute, and you want to ignore whatever responsibilities you have and just run away with the book to a park bench or cafe and continue reading until the last page. I love reading, but I certainly don’t have that experience with every novel I start. I actually felt sad when I finished – I didn’t want to say goodbye to T. S. Spivet.
I have so many favorite lines and passages from this book, but I’ve tried to list a just a few that make sense out of context and that don’t contain spoilers:
“Outside, there was that predawn kind of clarity, where the momentum of living has not quite captured the day. The air was not filled with conversation or thought bubbles or laughter or sidelong glances. Everyone was sleeping, all of their ideas and hopes and hidden agendas entangled in the dream world, leaving this world clear and crisp and cold as a bottle of milk in the fridge.” (page 90-91)
“I laid out all of my food. My heart sank. There was just not that much of it. If I was a hero, a cowboy, I would be able to last three weeks on this meager pile of granola bars and fruit that was before me. But I was not a cowboy. I was a little boy with a hyperactive metabolism. When I was hungry, my brain slowly began to shut down one section at a time: first I lost my mastery of social niceties, then I lost my ability to multiply, then I lost my capacity to speak in complete sentences, and so on. When Gracie rang the dinner bell, you could often find me gently rocking back and forth out on the back porch, famished and delusional, emitting little chickadee noises.” (page 111)
“I was really enjoying watching this scene of domesticity and sibling cooperation in the back of the minivan. It was better than television. It was like peeking into a world that had always been but that I would only be privy to for a couple of seconds, like passing a conversation on the street in which you only heard one line of dialogue, but it was an extremely choice line of dialogue, like: ‘And ever since that night, my mother’s had a thing for submarines.'” (page 115)
For those of you who’ve already read the book (or anyone not afraid of minor spoilers) Amazon has a great review that includes a short essay by Reif Larsen about the process of illustrating the book, and includes 5 illustrations that didn’t make it into the final edition. http://www.amazon.com/Selected-Works-T-S-Spivet/dp/1594202176/
Also, for those who have read it, here’s a great Powel’s interview with Reif Larsen (contains spoilers). Definitely worth reading. One cool part is that Reif Larsen says the book originally had an afterword, that provided more information on what happens to T. S., and that cutting that was the hardest part. He said that the book’s website will have clues on how to find that content – it will be hidden on the site. How fun! I’ve looked but haven’t found it yet. It looks like the full site is still being updated, there are some “coming soon” areas.
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