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The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet (Anglais) Relié – 5 mai 2009

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Revue de presse

“Two predictions about The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet: readers are going to love it as much as I did, and few if any will have experienced anything like it. I'm flabbergasted by Reif Larsen's talent, and I was warmed by his generosity. Here is a book that does the impossible: it combines Mark Twain, Thomas Pynchon, and Little Miss Sunshine. Good novels entertain; great ones come as a gift to the readers who are lucky enough to find them. This book is a treasure.”—Stephen King

Présentation de l'éditeur

Discover The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet for iPad.
A brilliant, boundary-leaping debut novel tracing twelve-year-old genius map maker T.S. Spivet's attempts to understand the ways of the world

When twelve-year-old genius cartographer T.S. Spivet receives an unexpected phone call from the Smithsonian announcing he has won the prestigious Baird Award, life as normal-if you consider mapping family dinner table conversation normal-is interrupted and a wild cross-country adventure begins, taking T.S. from his family ranch just north of Divide, Montana, to the museum's hallowed halls.

T.S. sets out alone, leaving before dawn with a plan to hop a freight train and hobo east. Once aboard, his adventures step into high gear and he meticulously maps, charts, and illustrates his exploits, documenting mythical wormholes in the Midwest, the urban phenomenon of "rims," and the pleasures of McDonald's, among other things. We come to see the world through T.S.'s eyes and in his thorough investigation of the outside world he also reveals himself.

As he travels away from the ranch and his family we learn how the journey also brings him closer to home. A secret family history found within his luggage tells the story of T.S.'s ancestors and their long-ago passage west, offering profound insight into the family he left behind and his role within it. As T.S. reads he discovers the sometimes shadowy boundary between fact and fiction and realizes that, for all his analytical rigor, the world around him is a mystery.

All that he has learned is tested when he arrives at the capital to claim his prize and is welcomed into science's inner circle. For all its shine, fame seems more highly valued than ideas in this new world and friends are hard to find.

T.S.'s trip begins at the Copper Top Ranch and the last known place he stands is Washington, D.C., but his journey's movement is far harder to track: How do you map the delicate lessons learned about family and self? How do you depict how it feels to first venture out on your own? Is there a definitive way to communicate the ebbs and tides of heartbreak, loss, loneliness, love? These are the questions that strike at the core of this very special debut.

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Amazon.com: 4.2 étoiles sur 5 127 commentaires
78 internautes sur 84 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Experimental Fiction Takes a Risk and Mostly Succeeds 22 avril 2009
Par Lance M. Foster - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Commentaire d‘un membre du Club des Testeurs ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
This book has some really cool things that I enjoy very much. It is becoming more common to try different ways to combine text and imagery in fiction, most notably in the form of the graphic novel. This book takes a different route, relying primarily on text to tell the story, with diagrams, call-outs and sidebars in the margins to act as subtexts and footnotes to the main storyline. For me, it works, but then, like the young protagonist, I have always loved maps and diagrams, aka Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative. Of course, the map is not the territory, but it certainly engages one on many levels. Just for the format and the daring of the author, I would give it five stars on that alone. I had to deduct one star for a couple of problems, that I hope the author will work on for his next book; I do hope he will work with this form again as it has much potential.

Like other reviewers, I found the plotline is rather convoluted with some false leads that didn't seem entirely useful. The young protagonist is a 12-year old genius, it is true, but intellect, emotional maturity, and experience are not the same things, and I found too much of the eastern-educated author's voice coming through the thinking with emotional stages a 12-year old would not have yet reached. That has been played over and over in the stories of young adolescents who have the genius to attend college and get higher grades than their peers...but who fail miserably at the emotional/social aspects.

I have lived in Helena, Montana, all my life (I'm pushing 50) and there are unfortunately some things that show the eastern author should have worked with more closely with someone who knows Montana a little better. Just a couple of things as an example of things he should have paid more attention to. Railroad rails are not "wrought iron," they are steel. The "slats" are called ties. The ties are not preserved with shellac, but are soaked in creosote. We Montanans may pronounced it "crick" but we don't spell it that way, we spell it "creek" like everyone else. We do tend to drop the "g" off words like "huntin' " and "fishin' "...but I never heard or read such a usage as the author's "sett'ng"... we would say sittin' not sett'ng...if you are going to ape regional dialect, you gotta get it right, or you show your own ignorance, not that of the "charming locals". And just what the heck is a "clink" (p. 13) or "chinks" (p. 15)? Does he mean to say "spurs"? I never heard any of my fellow Montanans refer to spurs as clinks or chinks. A clink is a jail, and a chink is a racist word for a person of Chinese descent. So that needs some work. Some parts were pretty cool though; I did like his Gary Cooper-esque father..he rang true. I know fellers like that.

So I would congratulate the author on an innovative and enjoyable book, and especially his imaginative integration of the visual with the textual. I would read more of his work. He just has to get the details right in the next book, and I look forward to readin' it when he does!
39 internautes sur 42 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Wonderful, quirky coming-of-age novel 5 mai 2009
Par Avid Reader - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Tecumseh Sparrow Spivet is a twelve-year-old genius living on a farm in the midwest. His mother, Dr. Clair, is a scientist searching for a rare beetle. His father is a farmer and cowboy. T.S. likes to think of himself as a mapmaker. He doesn't just draw maps of land, though, he draws maps of everything from facial expressions to gunshots. One day, he takes a phone call from the Smithsonian Institute and discovers that he has been selected for the prestigious Baird award, for which his friend Dr. Yorn has nominated him. That phone call prompts T.S. to sneak on trains in his quest to get to Washington, D.C., to give a speech and accept his award. Along the way, he meets a number of strange characters and makes a series of important realizations about his life, his age, and most importantly, his family.

I'm not sure there are words to describe how I felt about this book. I haven't seen many blog reviews around and I'm really wondering why. This book is phenomenal. T.S. is a stunning character. He is clearly a genius but clearly a child at the same time; he makes amazing conclusions but then his child-logic can't always keep up with his scientific mind. I found this fascinating. I'm no genius, but I truly felt that with T.S. I was having a peek into the mind of someone like Stephen Hawking, although much more understandable.

This book isn't for people who dislike footnotes, though. Me, I love footnotes, and this book is full of them, although usually on the sides, along with T.S.'s maps and observations. In my opinion, these little asides added immeasurably to the main story even if they required me to read a little bit slower. They flesh out this little boy's world and show us how he works, who he is friends with, and sometimes illuminate larger questions in the novel; for example, his facial diagrams allow us to see the way his father appears when he looks at T.S. in a way that words could not really match. The maps allows us to slowly feel the depths of pain which T.S. has been experiencing since his brother, Layton, killed himself; so much is revealed in that sibling relationship not through words, but through the implied sharing and affection in certain maps and footnotes. My favorite of all of the asides, though, was probably the three-prong diagram of why McDonald's appeals to adolescent boys.

I also really, really loved the backstory behind T.S.'s family which is covered towards the middle of the book in sections which were from a notebook T.S. stole from his mother. Having had no inkling of his mother's writing talent, T.S. is startled to discover that she has been writing a novel of the life of one of his ancestors. I loved this story-within-a-story, both because it felt like historical fiction, my favorite genre, and because it revealed so much to T.S. about his mother, who has many more secrets than she lets on. I can't say that it moved the plot forward, but I never minded at all.

In the end, this was a wonderful, quirky, endearing story about a boy who figures out what his family means to him and, in the meantime, starts to grow up on his journey east. It might not be for everyone, considering the lengthy footnotes and digressions from the main plot, but I loved every minute, especially after T.S. sets off. I was in the mood for an ambitious story and I certainly got one. I can't recommend this book highly enough.
65 internautes sur 77 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 The Incomplete Works of T.S. Spivet 18 avril 2009
Par owookiee - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Commentaire d‘un membre du Club des Testeurs ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
The author did a good job of presenting the mind of a 12 year-old prodigy. All the little asides and drawings in the margin that went along with the story were fantastic.

I was thoroughly enjoying the story until T.S. opens his mother's notebook and then we spent way too many pages on a whole separate story of his grandmother. Sure it gives background to his talents and personality, but it was way overboard in terms of size.

I got re-interested again and really liked the majority of the last half of the book - only to ultimately be let down again. There's a whole subplot revolving around a secret society, and the author basically took it nowhere. It seems way too elaborate for being just an excuse for his mother's actions. I wanted to read more about these people, what it is they do, and how T.S. will be a part of that, but we never more than scratch the surface of it, and ultimately, the book suddenly stops when you feel there is much more story to be told. The denouement, if it can be considered to exist at all, is a mere page long.

I think this good have been a much better book. It sadly ranks as merely okay in its present form, unless a sequel turns up that can take things to a logical end.
40 internautes sur 47 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 I wish I could say that I got it 31 mars 2009
Par J. A Magill - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Commentaire d‘un membre du Club des Testeurs ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
No doubt "The Selected Works of TS Spivet" is a strong candidate for the summer's "IT" book. All of the elements are there. A 12-year old genius misfit as our first person narrator. A dead brother. A gentle loving sister. A story within a story. A journey. Revealed family secrets. Self discovery. The novel also includes a novel addition; as has been much discussed, Larsen's debut includes a web of lovely illustrations flanking near every page in the margin. Nor are these illustrations purposeless, as they are the work of our narrator, whose genius lies in his ability to "map" anything, from the anatomy of a beetle to his father's method of sipping whiskey.

Yet while all the elements are here, and Mr. Larsen clearly has a gift for prose, I am not sure that the pieces hung together for me as a reader. Our narrator, T.S. (Tecumseh Sparrow) Spivet at times speaks in the voice of an emotional adept with keen understanding of human nature and frailties. At other times he reads like an autistic idiot savant. There seems little rhyme or reason to these bursts of human understanding, other than the author's desire to delve deeper into the relationships of his characters while remaining in the first person.

Doubtless these sorts of issues are common for young writers, wishing to create material in the first person, but having trouble remaining within its confines. Yet even for those who are able to hang on for the ride - and to be honest, I was certainly able to for the first part of the book, compelled by the writing and my interest in the narrator - Larsen seems strangely committed to do his damndest to throw the reader as though they were trying to tame a wild horse. "The Selected Works of TS Spivet" takes so many twists and turns, often with no apparent purpose other than a flight of fancy, that one imagines it would be difficult to diagram. Perhaps this is some type of metaphor for the narrator TS Spivet's gift for mapping, but if so it was way over my head.

As for the twists and turns, I am loath to go into them for fear of ruining the readers experience. However, the novel begins with TS answering the telephone in Montana to learn that he has won the Baird Award for the Smithsonian, which is ignorant of his tender years. Deciding to escape his family and go to collect his prize, he takes on the hobo life and rides the rails to DC. I won't reveal what happens then, but it involves - in no particular order - murder, secret societies, holes in the space time continuum, a host of family secrets conveniently revealed in a notebook that TS mistakenly packs, and more. At first, I thought that this would somehow work out to be a product of his genius imagination, but no its all real. Some authors can pull off such serendipitous works (the excellent debut, "Fraction of the Whole," is one example), but I had a hard time figuring out how all these complex threads fit together as anything more than... well... a large pile of thread.

Larsen's effort here is clearly tremendous. And I don't wish to disparage his obvious gifts. Perhaps others will see in this novel something I am missing, but I for one, didn't get it.
17 internautes sur 20 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 some good points but too precious and goes off the rails at the end 27 mai 2009
Par B. Capossere - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Commentaire d‘un membre du Club des Testeurs ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
The Selected Works of T.S. Privet is getting a lot of buzz, especially for its highly inventive use of illustration and its precocious eponymous character. And there are some strong moments in the novel, but I'm afraid that I'll have to be one of the naysayers on this one.
T.S. is a 12-yr-old prodigy, at many things but especially mapmaking. He lives in Montana with his laconic rancher father, his obsessed entomologist mother, his 16-yr-old sister (who is, well, 16), and, until his death, his brother Layton. Known only to his friend/mentor, a local professor, T.S. has been illustrating for various science magazines and journals (under the deception that he was a professor himself) and the book begins with a phone call informing T.S. that he has won the Baird Award at the Smithsonian, which will be presented to him in a ceremony (at which he'll give a speech) in a few days. Still keeping it a secret, T.S. hops a train and "hobos" it across country.
What makes this a book of "special interest" isn't so much the story, inventive as it is, but the presentation, as the entire book is illustrated in the margins with examples of T.S.'s compulsive diagramming: maps of his bedroom, his house, his rail trip, and more metaphorical or abstract maps as well--maps of the kinds of boredom, for instance.
So one has to judge the book on two levels really--one is the usual story itself, and one is how the story works in its presentation to the reader. Unfortunately, both fail, though story more so than presentation.
The illustrations actually mostly succeed in and of themselves--individually, they offer at times a bit of humor, a charm, a poignancy, a darkness. And as we learn more about his brother's death, we can make the connection that though T.S.'s mapmaking had begun before that event, it's all the more important afterward as he seeks to make order out of such a world. The problem though is that there are simply too many illustrations; the author isn't selective enough. At times they seem unnecessary, at times they seem quirky for the sake of quirky, at times they bog the reader down. When you find yourself actively asking yourself multiple times if you want to bother actually looking at the illustrations, they've lost their purpose in the book. By the end, I had to force myself to view each one. Contrast this, for instance, with the footnotes in Jonathan Strange or in some of David Foster Wallace's less self-indulgent or self-ironic works where such items are integral to the impact. Taking out a third or more of the diagrams would have lessened the book's "difference" and some of its quirkiness, but the illustrations would have had much greater effect.
The story, unfortunately, fails even more. One problem is it is overly precious, beginning the character, even with the name. "Tecumseh" by itself would have been fine, as would "sparrow" (his middle name) by itself, but do we really need both? The father and mother each have their own preciousness, as well. Even worse is that while one can accept a mapmaking prodigy of a 12-yr-old, at no point could I ever believe the emotional or social observations were made by a 12-yr-old. As sharp as some of the insights were, I could never buy them from T.S. This overly precocious narrator youth seems to have become far too prevalent lately, almost as if authors are looking to have their cake and eat it too--all the charm and quirkiness and freshness of a kid's viewpoint, plus all the deep meaning and insight of an adult's fully lived emotional life. It always strikes me as false and even a bit lazy.
That said, as much as it grated, it was tolerable for the first third of the book as T.S. and his family are introduced and he begins his trip on the rails. The early contrived portions were also a bit irritating but bearable in this section: the convenient Winnebago on the platform car he hops into, the helpful hobo, etc. So I was with the author, albeit with reservations, for the first third.
And then we start to delve into the story of one of T.S.'s ancestors, an early female scientist (first graduating class of Vassar). We get the story via a notebook T.S. had (conveniently) taken from home on a whim and here we see the author's gifts for simple, straight narrative and characterization. To be honest, while many will probably complain this broke the main storyline and went on too long, this was my favorite section. Here we again have a smart youth, someone doing the unexpected, but it was all so much more believable in character and tone and voice and style. And the connections to T.S. were deftly handled as was what the story said about T.S.'s mother it was her notebook). I was sorry to see this end.
Though I wouldn't know just how sorry for a little while. Since there are so many twists and turns and odd points to the plot in the last quarter or so, I won't go into detail. But I have to say the author utterly lost me. Not in terms of being confused, just in terms of caring. The book just started to self-destruct. I kept waiting for it to come back on track, but it never did. I kept wondering why, why we go there? Along with the ending of The Domino Men, I have to rank this as one of the worst and more befuddling (in terms of why the author would choose this course) endings I've read in years.
Are there reasons to like the book? If you can get over the fact that the insights are coming from an alleged 12-yr-old, then T.S. has many good lines and sharp observations about people. And as mentioned, the illustrations do a good job of enhancing the story until they start to overwhelm and tax the reader and blur into themselves. When T.S. lapses into actual 12-yr-old thinking, he has a winning voice. And certainly the strongest aspect of the book is the slow drip drip of Layton's death and its impact. Unfortunately, it gets buried under too much, especially at the end.
It's especially for that end (a lengthy ending--as mentioned nearly the whole last quarter of the book), but also for the overly-precious nature of the book and main character, that I can't recommend T.S. despite a decent start and a strong middle passage, despite the above-mentioned insights, poignancy, and inventive/effective drawings. It's too bad because one can see how this could have been truly a great book, one of those you eagerly press on a friend, but seemingly we'll have to wait for Larsen's second novel (and a stronger editor) for him to meet his clear potential.
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