BOOK REVIEW: “S” by J.J. Abrams & Doug Dorst

11 Jan

S Cover

“An enigmatic, jumbled love story about story-loving.”

Stop me if you recognize the following plot elements, perhaps from a popular television show of not-so-long-ago: a multi-level mystery, cryptic islands, strange markings that crop up everywhere, repeating numbers, a persistent undertow of whispers, vaguely familiar characters with questionable motives, malleable timelines, red-herring clues, conspiracies that cross time and generations, lethal black substances…

Well, I could go on.

Written by novelist Doug Dorst, as envisioned by filmmaker J.J. Abrams, ‘S’ is as much a descent down the proverbial rabbit hole as it is a novel. A mind-fuck, wrapped in a library book, inside a slipcase—literally. The actual physical book within the slipcase entitled ‘S’ is called Ship of Theseus, the title of which refers to a philosophical paradox that posits the following scenario: If a ship had every plank, mast, sail, window, and nail completely replaced with exact physical replicas, is it still the same ship afterwards, or an entirely different vessel despite being identical to its predecessor?

And this is just where the confusion begins, though this isn’t to say that with the mounting perplexity one experiences in trying to connect names and identities and scenarios across nearly five-hundred pages of vaguely shifting time lines and places, this process couldn’t also be rather enjoyable. After all, Abrams does have a knack for intriguing premises that, though don’t always cross the finish line with their heads intact, at least offer some heart and soul along the way…[CONTINUE READING]

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