The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet by Reif Larsen

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Synopsis

Dear Spivet Family, I have gone for a while to do some work. Don't worry, I'll be fine. I didn't want to bother you by telling about it ahead of time. Thank you for taking care of me. You are one of the best families in the world. Love, T.S. T.S. makes sense of his chaotic family life by drawing beautiful, meticulous maps kept in innumerable colour-coded notebooks. He is brilliant, and the Smithsonian Institution agrees, though when they award him a major scientific prize they don't suspect for a moment that he is twelve years old. So begins T.S.'s life-changing adventure, travelling two thousand miles across America to reach the awards dinner, the secret-society membership and the TV interviews that beckon. But is this what he wants? Do maps and lists explain the world? And why are adults so strange?
 

About Reif Larsen

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Reif Larsen is twenty-eight, studied at Brown University, and has taught at Columbia University, where he is finishing his MFA in fiction. He is also a filmmaker and has made documentaries in the United States, the United Kingdom, and sub- Saharan Africa.
 
Published January 1, 2009 by Harvill Secker. 374 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment, Action & Adventure, Biographies & Memoirs. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet

The New York Times

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“Mr. Stenpock always wore a noisy leather jacket while teaching, a fashion statement that tried (and yet failed) to say: ‘Children, I probably do things after school that you are not ready to know about just yet.’ ” (Yes, the young Larsen is funny.) Spivet embodies the uneasy balance of innocence...

Jun 19 2009 | Read Full Review of The Selected Works of T. S. S...

The Guardian

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From his father's mythology of the wild west to his mother's family history of scientific struggle and frontier expeditions, the novel is rich with the American tradition of discovery: this is TS's inspiration, whether he's describing the geographical wonders of the west or mapping the vanishing ...

May 30 2009 | Read Full Review of The Selected Works of T. S. S...

The Guardian

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Opening Reif Larsen's The Selected Works of TS Spivet brings to mind that useful old instruction of Mark Twain: "Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted;

May 03 2009 | Read Full Review of The Selected Works of T. S. S...

BC Books

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The boy's reserved mother — whom the child refers to as “Dr. Clair” instead of “Mom” — is a failed entomologist who has spent most of her career searching for a beetle that may or may not exist.

Jul 06 2009 | Read Full Review of The Selected Works of T. S. S...

Examiner

S.'s journey, then, becomes not only a lesson about himself but a process of coming to terms with his family and his relationship to them, both before and after Layton's death.

Aug 29 2009 | Read Full Review of The Selected Works of T. S. S...

Entertainment Weekly

While Larsen's narrative isn't perfect (and feels disjointed in its final third), Spivet is still a mightily impressive debut, a wistful glimpse at that moment when adulthood threatens those last, vital days of youth.

May 13 2009 | Read Full Review of The Selected Works of T. S. S...

The Washington Post

I fell in love with "The Selected Works of T.S.

May 06 2009 | Read Full Review of The Selected Works of T. S. S...

The Telegraph

Here the narrative thread takes another dogleg, and then, when TS reaches Washington, there are more developments that could be called narrative twists, but feel more like additions from a writing exercise, and this is perhaps the novel’s problem: it feels like a confection dreamed up by...

May 14 2009 | Read Full Review of The Selected Works of T. S. S...

The Bookbag

Sure TS, as a child prodigy, has a vocabulary and learning way beyond his peers, but this could simply be because he is telling his story from an adult perspective - we are never told at what age his narrative was written.

Jan 10 2011 | Read Full Review of The Selected Works of T. S. S...

Oregon Live

The ambition of this audacious first novel is so extraordinary that it's easy to forgive Reif Larsen when he doesn't quite pull it off.

May 15 2009 | Read Full Review of The Selected Works of T. S. S...

About.com

Tecumseh Sparrow Spivet is a 12-year-old cartographer living on the Coppertop Ranch just 4.73 miles North of the tiny town of Divide, Montana.

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Bookmarks Magazine

Ron Charles Sunday Times (UK) 2 of 5 Stars "Not only is young Spivet not ordinary, he’s not easy to believe in, and is given to making observations such as ‘I constantly battled the curious weight of entropy in my tiny bedroom, which was stuffed to the gills with the sediment of a cartograph...

May 10 2009 | Read Full Review of The Selected Works of T. S. S...

Chamber Four

The problem, though, is that Larsen spends so much time diagramming the tributaries of T.S.’s mind, that he doesn’t pay attention to where the river is taking us.

Oct 07 2009 | Read Full Review of The Selected Works of T. S. S...

Reader Rating for The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet
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