The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet
First-time novelists don’t usually get profiled in Vanity Fair, but Reif Larsen’s first novel, The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet, has been generating that kind of advance buzz for the 29-year-old writer. (I hate him already.) It’s a book about an eccentric 12-year-old genius cartographer named Tecumseh Sparrow Spivet, who makes maps and diagrams of absolutely everything he encounters. Ed Caesar reviews Larsen’s novel in the Times:
[Spivet] draws diagrams of everything he sees: his sister shucking corn, a cross section of the local water table, the frequency of a stranger’s footfall on the pavement. All these drawings are included in sidebars alongside the text (a technique one might think would be irritating, but is actually wonderful). The drawings also provide the narrative thrust. T. S. has been submitting diagrams to the Smithsonian for years, without telling them his real age. When the Smithsonian honours him with a special award, he sets out on a journey cross-country to make his acceptance speech.
What strikes you most about the novel is its tone — redolent of Mark Twain’s Roughing It in the rhythms of its humour and the picaresque deviations of its storytelling.
I don’t think I have any choice: I’m going to have to read this one.
- Buy The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet at Amazon.com