Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Generation S in J.J. Abrams' and Doug Dorst's Novel, the Story in the Margins Heightens the Mystery Plot in a Wonderful Work of Sensory and Literary Bombardments

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Generation S in J.J. Abrams' and Doug Dorst's Novel, the Story in the Margins Heightens the Mystery Plot in a Wonderful Work of Sensory and Literary Bombardments

Article excerpt

"S."

By J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst.

Mulholland Books ($35).

Any lover of literature knows the experience of leafing through an old book that conveys, simply by its weathered cover, yellowed pages and musty odor, a history all of its own; a book that chronicles within its pages not only the adventure held in the text, but also the experiences of anyone who has ever immersed themselves in its well-worn pages; a book with notes scrawled haphazardly in the margins that are as enthralling as the book itself. This is the experience that awaits any reader of "S." by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst.

"S." is, quite simply, a meta-fictional masterpiece. Conceived by director/producer J.J. Abrams (of "Lost" and "Alias" fame) and written by Doug Dorst, "S." expertly combines their respective backgrounds into an unprecedented piece of fiction.

Aptly referred to by Mr. Abrams as a "love letter to the written word," this is not a book that can be experienced outside its physical, written format, due mainly to the "handwritten" annotations with which the margins are covered, as well as the supplemental documents filling its pages. The result is a book that would be better described as an interactive experience -- one that fully immerses the reader in its interweaving plot lines.

Once the reader removes the old-fashioned slipcover in which the novel is packaged (a black box inscribed with the titular scripted "S"), the reader will encounter a worn-looking book titled "Ship of Theseus," written by the fictional author V.M. Straka -- a man whose politically deviant actions are well known, but whose identity is shrouded in mystery.

This book chronicles the story of a man named S, picking up his tale as he tries to piece together vague scraps of an identity recently lost to amnesia. Throughout the novel S finds himself involved in everything from kidnapping to political scandal, all the while navigating the complex themes of life, identity and trust. …

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