Notes from underground

يارب يسوع المسيح ابن اللّه الحيّ إرحمني أنا الخاطئ

Book review: The selected works of T.S. Spivet

Selected Works Of T.S. Spivet, TheSelected Works Of T.S. Spivet, The by Reif Larsen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Tecumseh Sparrow Spivet is a 12-year-old boy who lives on a ranch in Montana in the USA, close to the continental divide. He is obsessed with making maps of everything, and wants to map the entire world, or at least the whole of Montana. He lives with his rancher father, his entomologist mother, and his older sister Gracie, and their dog Verywell. He misses his younger brother Layton, who died a few months earlier.

He receives a phone call from the Smithsonian Institution, to which a scientific friend of his mother has sent some of his maps and drawings, and they want to give him a prize. He at first turns it down, embarrassed because they think he is older, but later decides to accept, and sets out to hitchhike to Washington by train and by car. The book describes his journey, and his thoughts and experiences on the journey, and the maps he makes of them.

The book is unusual, and difficult to compare with others. In some ways it reminds me of Sammy going south by W.H. Canaway in that describes a long journey made by a child on his own, but the first-person narrative in this book also makes it quite different. It is both humourous and sad. Like another book I read recently, The shadow of the wind, it is set in the real world, but also has elements of fantasy, science fiction and mythology.

There is a Megatherium Society, which is based on something real, but in the book functions like a secret society in a conspiracy theory. The train passes through a wormhole, which reminds me of the the short story A subway named Möbius.

But really it is in a genre on its own, and comparisons cannot convey what it is like. I found it a very good read.

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