Jen and Eric of S. have no problem writing in the margins–this is one of the only things I’m certain of after reading S., J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst’s mysterious book.
S. tells many stories, within the text, in the margins, and on the web. Jen, a senior undergrad, finds the book the Ship of Theseus after grad student Eric leaves it on a table. She takes a peek, likes what she reads, and writes a note to him in the front cover. When Eric writes back it kicks off love letters, research, mysteries, arson, threats, secret codes, and more. The book within a book structure is similar to House of Leaves (which I wasn’t crazy about) and reminiscent of The Princess Bride (which I am completely crazy about).
I was always a bit more interested in what was going on with Eric and Jen than what was going on in the text of the Ship of Theseus, but both the story and the marginalia are really fun to read.
And they were both fun to investigate. Jen and Eric are researching the author of the Ship of Theseus, a man called Straka. But no one knows who Straka really is, and he could be anything from an assassin, a 20-year-old man who committed suicide, a group of writers, a man who keeps reincarnating, or, I don’t know, even a monkey.
As Jen an Eric keep investigating, their secrets also spill into the margins. There are secrets on secrets on secrets, and it is so fun to snoop.
And since it’s J.J. Abrams, the mystery isn’t contained inside the book. There’s even websites that are all a part of the game–with hidden messages, no less. All you have to do is start researching like Jen and Eric did to find some.
House of Leaves felt like work to me, but S. felt like play. And like sneaking on someone’s love letters, but minus the guilt. I have a lot of theories (most of them having to do with the number 19), so did you guys read it?! Hit me up! And check out Word bookstore’s Q&A with the writer!
I am working on a project to sew some of my favorite quotes and images. You can see the other pieces of my embroidery project here:
(I read S. on my own, but the link to buy is affiliate.)