The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet

Reif Larsen, Author . Penguin Press $27.95 (400p) ISBN 978-1-59420-217-9

Fans of Wes Anderson will find much to love in the offbeat characters and small (and sometimes not so small) touches of magic thrown into the mix during the cross-country, train-hopping adventure of a 12-year-old mapmaking prodigy, T.S. Spivet. After the death of T.S.'s brother, Layton, T.S. receives a call from the Smithsonian informing him that he has won the prestigious Baird award, prompting him to hop a freight train to Washington, D.C., to accept the prize. Along the way, he meets a possibly sentient Winnebago, a homicidal preacher, a racist trucker and members of the secretive Megatherium Club, among many others. All this is interwoven with the journals of his mother and her effort to come to grips with the matriarchal line of scientists in the family. Dense notes, many dozens of illustrations and narrative elaborations connected to the main text via dotted lines are on nearly every page. For the most part, they work well, though sometimes the extra material confuses more than clarifies. Larsen is undeniably talented, though his unique vision and style make for a love-it or hate-it proposition. (May)

Reviewed on: 02/09/2009
Release date: 05/01/2009
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 374 pages - 978-0-14-311735-3
Compact Disc - 978-0-14-314465-6
Paperback - 978-0-14-750717-4
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-09-953517-1
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-14-310918-1
Show other formats
Discover what to read next