Monday, January 13, 2014

Review of S. by Doug Dorst & J.J. Abrams

Title: S.

Author: Doug Dorst; concept by J.J. Abrams

Publisher: Mulholland Books

What It's About: The book is really two stories progressing at once. The book is designed to look like an old library book, a book called Ship of Theseus by a mysterious and controversial author named V. M. Straka. The novel is about a man who wakes up not knowing who he is and is dragged onto a ship where he encounters strange things. Then, when the ship crashes, he washes up on land where he is caught up in something no one with amnesia could be prepared for. 

The book is also about the storyline running through the margins of the book. A college student named Jen and a rejected graduate student named Eric are trading the book back and forth, having conversations in the margin. They're trying to uncover the mystery behind Straka and developing a relationship at the same time, but it's clear that this search is putting them in danger.

Why I Read It: I love the work of J.J. Abrams. I realize he only came up with the concept of the book, but his commitment to mystery has always been something I've really been drawn to. I found a new author that I enjoy in Doug Dorst.

What I Liked About It: Everything. The way the book is designed. The stories are full of mystery and suspense. S. is this really interesting character because he doesn't know anything about himself. He's a complete enigma. The way Eric and Jen's story plays out in the margins is done really well. I wondered how it could be pulled off, but it was definitely pulled off really well.

What I Didn't Like About It: It's a great concept, but it can never really be done again, at least in the way that it's a new kind of experience. This isn't a flaw in the book. It's just disappointing for such a good storytelling experience to end.

Where You Can Buy It:

Review copy provided by Mulholland Books

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