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

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Shortlisted for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction 2010.

A 12 year old genius wins a prestigious Science Award from The Smithsonian although they are unaware he is only twelve. T.S decides to abscond from his home in Montana and journey to Washington and the awards ceremony. A wonderful book, enhanced beautifully by illustrations of some of T.S’s marvellous maps. A true gem of a book.

If you like Reif Larsen you might also like to read books by Nick Harkaway, David Mitchell and Sabina Berman.


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

T.S. Spivet is a 12-year-old genius mapmaker who lives on a ranch in Montana. His father is a tight-lipped cowboy and his mother is a scientist who for the last twenty years has been looking for a mythical species of beetle. His brother has gone, his sister seems normal but might not be, and his dog - Verywell - is going mad. It's odd, but then families are. T.S. makes sense of it all by drawing beautiful, meticulous maps kept in innumerable colour-coded notebooks: maps of the countryside, maps of his family's behaviour, maps of animal and plant life. He is brilliant, and the Smithsonian Institution agrees, though when they telephone with news that he has won a major scientific prize they don't suspect for a minute that he is twelve years old. So begins T.S.'s life-changing adventure, fleeing in the dead of night, riding freight trains two thousand miles across America to reach the awards dinner, the fame, the secret-society membership and the TV appearances that beckon. But is this what he wants? Do maps and lists explain the world? And why are adults so strange? The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet is a story like no other: exhilarating, funny, endlessly charming and unbearably poignant. It is a journey through life's mysteries great and small, and about how on earth a boy with a telescope, four compasses and a theodolite should set about solving them.

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About the Author

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 US, UK and sub-Saharan Africa. He lives in Brooklyn.

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Book Info

Publication date

7th May 2009


Reif Larsen

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