Reif Larsen
Penguin, New York, 2009, English
ISBN: 9780143117353
On 1 book list
Warren Lehrer

Like Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, the protagonist of this novel is a precocious kid (all of 12 years old). He is traumatized by the death of a family member, goes on a long journey, meets many interesting people, and discovers unexpected things along the way. The young T. S. Spivet travels solo by train from Montana to Washington, D.C. to receive a prestigious award from the Smithsonian given to him for his unusual brand of cartography. The squarish book pairs the primary narrative of the road trip with side columns that annotate Spivet’s inquisitive mind and his archaeological dig into his (heretofore secret) family history. His elaborate maps have little to do with geography and more with diagramming experience and speculation—from cross-talk at the dinner table, and the pleasures of McDonalds, to mythical wormholes in the Midwest. Sometimes the difference between the primary narrative and the marginalia seems arbitrary, but it is worth the trip.

comments powered by Disqus