S

S

Book - 2013
Average Rating:
6
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"The chronicle of two readers finding each other in the margins of a book and enmeshing themselves in a deadly struggle between forces they don't understand."--Back of container.
Publisher: [New York] : Mulholland Books/Little, Brown ; [United States] : [Produced by] Bad Robot/Melcher Media, c2013
ISBN: 9780316201643
Branch Call Number: �FICTION DORST
Characteristics: xiv, 456 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm. + supplemental loose materials within pages

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c
cvmoore
Jul 03, 2016

The copy that I checked out had no inserts (not one!). I asked the librarian and she said that there was no record of anything that should be included with the book. After reading the information online, it is clear that there should be a good number of inserts. I just bought the book and see that there are a lot of inserts and that the book comes in a box. SPL should have kept this book in the box that it came in to keep the inserts in the book! I'm going to complain to the library.

e
enerney
Dec 17, 2015

I read a recommendation regarding how to handle the inserts shortly after starting this book. After several frustrating tries to keep the inserts in their place (and worried I would lose some - how to explain THAT to the library), I decided to adopt that reader's advice: "The slip notes fall out very easily, it is best if you take them all out and label them with sticky notes identifying which page they were on. Keep them nearby as you read and watch the page numbers." I clipped them all to the inside back flap of the book with a binder clip - they were in the right order, with a sticky indicating the page, and they were attached to the book! Didn't lose a single one.

r
ROTFLMAO
Jun 17, 2015

I really liked the idea this and had a lot of fun looking at all the inserts and such, but in practice, it was quite difficult to read and I ended up bailing.

r
Russ_A
May 28, 2015

This book (SOT for short) is a grand adventure. Experience it in its full hardback version, not the ebook. It is beautifully crafted to appear to be an old library book, complete with call number on the spine and checkout history stamps on the inside. The pages are made to look yellowed at the edges and the font is chosen to look straight from the 1950s. Scattered throughout the pages are various inserts – letters, postcards, photos, and even a code wheel – all appearing authentic. Be careful when you open it so they don’t all fall out. They are placed at logical spots in the story.

The novel unfolds in at least four chronological stages. It also takes place both in print and in the handwritten margin notes, which I saved until after I had read the printed story. First is the original novel purportedly written by V.M. Straka, a controversial and reclusive mid-20th century author who was active in the radical left-wing movements of the 30s and 40s – labor riots, anti-fascist groups, and especially opposed to an industrialist/arms dealer. SOT is his last book, published by his long-time translator F.X. Caldeira, in 1959, years after his death. The tale is a bizarre allegorical account of the travels of S., an amnesiac-turned-assassin fighting the agents of the evil munitions provider in the story, modeled after Straka’s real-life nemesis. It is filled with the dark imagery one might expect from the mind of J.J. Abrams (cf. Lost) one of the creators of the book. One quickly gets the idea the story is more than what it appears to be on its face.

The translation, including Caldeira’s foreword and footnotes, form yet another story. The reader soon realizes that the footnotes, too, contain some secret, undisclosed information. Odd wording, misaligned characters and other clues tell us that the footnotes are trying to communicate something secret – but what, and to whom?

Then going back through the margin notes from the beginning we learn that the book is being passed back and forth between Eric, a graduate student, and Jen, a senior English major who works in the campus library. Eric’s dissertation work on Straka is being stolen by his former advisor (who had him “expunged”) and his ex-girlfriend. Jen becomes his ally in solving the mysteries surrounding Straka: who was he really? Did he commit suicide or was he murdered? What were Caldeira’s footnotes all about? Whom did the characters in SOT represent in real life? All the while they have to fight off the evil professor and ex-girlfriend (who also happens to be Jen’s TA in a lit course).

Eric writes in black ink, block letters. Jen uses blue cursive. As things become more tense they switch colors to green and orange,and eventually red and purple. Will Eric and Jen ever meet face-to-face? Will Eric get back into academia? Will Jen graduate after her TA flunks her? All these dramas play out together.

The very concept is worth several stars, but the cleverness of the story and the marvelous artwork both on the page and in the inserts makes this one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read in years. I highly recommend it.

c
claireswazey
Feb 21, 2014

Very ingenious concept. The only problem with getting this from the library is that there were a number of little notes and enclosures and such that are supposed to be in the book. Only a couple of them were in this book- they probably fell out, since they aren't attached. Also, the dust jacket with the S wasn't on the book. So I was confused as could be when I picked up the book at the library. That being said, I really liked it. Though I was more interested in the margin notes and other correspondence than the text in the seeming original book. Great story, great concept.

j
jescar82
Jan 24, 2014

First, inserts keep fall out of the book. Keeping them in the right places are impossible! I hope the CPL and other libraries try to bind them in place. Another than that, a good story loved the relationship between the two main characters. You could spend all day reading the book and those little inserts.

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