'S' or 'Ship of Theseus' by JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst

Discussion in 'General Books' started by Dunthule, Jan 16, 2014.

  1. Dunthule

    Dunthule New Member

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    Has anyone read Ship of Theseus, a novel-within-a-novel, conceived by JJ Abrams? (He partnered with Doug Dorst who wrote the story).
    The novel itself is called S, and is a Nabokovian exercise in meta-fiction. It purports to be a work by "VM Straka" about a man trapped aboard a hellish ship - but the manuscript has been annotated by two other readers and is accompanied by assorted ephemera: postcards, telegrams, a map…

    I just picked it up and find the concept fascinating.
     
  2. Sparrow

    Sparrow Well-Known Member

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    The concept is indeed pretty cool... the book's presentation is exquisite, I mean it looks very much like an old library book in a hard slipcover (which is why I bought it). Something you'd find on a forgotten shelf in the tombs of a public library with a thick coat of dust. The reading of it though, is a bit confusing. Of course it's meant to be confusing! If you like to skim-read, you will get very little from the story, or actually the story within the story within another story. The footnotes and carrying on that plays itself out in the margins is where I think you have to really pay attention.

    'S' reminds me a bit of the 'Griffin and Sabine' books that came out a long time ago which had postcards and various other paraphernalia that you could open and explore. It was all very cryptic and at the end you're left wondering if anything was rooted in reality, like the poor guy was going insane for the sake of love.

    I was only a third of the way into 'S' before I put it down as it was becoming less fun and more a struggle to understand. When I'm in the mood I'll pick it up again.

    I should add that 'S' expects full reader participation, you get out of it what you put in.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2014
  3. Dunthule

    Dunthule New Member

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    Agreed. I opted to first read the novel Ship of Theseus straight through without reading the footnotes by FX or the comments in the margin. It almost reminded me of Mark Helprin (Winters Tale) which always seemed to have one foot on reality and the other on some other plain. :)
    Now it's one to going through the footnotes, margin and the inserts. :)