Review: S., Doug Dorst & J.J. Abrams

S. Doug Dorst, J,J, Abrams
A young woman picks up a book left behind by a stranger. Inside it are his margin notes, which reveal a reader entranced by the story and by its mysterious author. She responds with notes of her own, leaving the book for the stranger, and so begins an unlikely conversation that plunges them both into the unknown.
THE BOOK: Ship of Theseus, the final novel by a prolific but enigmatic writer named V. M. Straka, in which a man with no past is shanghaied onto a strange ship with a monstrous crew and launched onto a disorienting and perilous journey.
THE WRITER: Straka, the incendiary and secretive subject of one of the world’s greatest mysteries, a revolutionary about whom the world knows nothing apart from the words he wrote and the rumours that swirl around him.
THE READERS: Jennifer and Eric, a college senior and a disgraced grad student, both facing crucial decisions about who they are, who they might become, and how much they’re willing to trust another person with their passions, hurts, and fears.

Doug Dorst is an American novelist, short story writer, and creative writing instructor. Dorst is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University. He currently teaches at the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Texas State University in San Marcos.
Jeffrey Jacob "J. J." Abrams born June 27, 1966 New York City, is an American film and television producer, screenwriter, director, actor and composer, best known for his work in the genres of action, drama, and science fiction. Abrams was raised in Los Angeles. He attended Palisades High School and Sarah Lawrence College.Abrams is married to public relations executive Katie McGrath and has three children. He resides in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, California.

I am totally in love with the looks of this book. It comes in a sleeve and has all these extras and is so pretty. I added a video from someone unpacking this beauty.
This book is not easy to read. It took me an hour or so to decide on my strategy and even discussed it on twitter with a few people how they approached it. The book holds two stories that the original written by Straka and the story of Eric and Jennifer in the margins. I eventually decided to read page by page both the original story and the margins and that actually works. The Straka story develops pretty slow with a clear development. The margins are a but more messy as they mess up time lines at points. Still in the end it all makes sense.
Both stories are exciting in their own way. I liked the developments of  S. in the Straka story. All the choices he had to make and the discoveries about himself he had to do. It was an interesting puzzle what exactly he was and what was going on.
The story of Eric and Jennifer slowly developing in the margins was exciting. There were so many scary things surrounding them and I never was sure about what was going on. The time line jumps did spoil some of the things that happened later though it did raise a lot of questions not to mention making me more curious. Still I would have loved to have more story about these two.

Author: Doug Dorst, J.J Abrams
Publisher: Canongate
Pages: 472
Format: Hardcover
ISBN-10: 0857864777
ISBN-13: 9780857864772
Canongate: Hardcover
4 stars

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28 June, 2014 delete

I'm so glad to read your review of this book! I bought it when it came out, then couldn't figure out how to go about reading it, and just never even got started. I think I'll give your approach a try and see how it feels to read both pieces at the same time. I'm glad you enjoyed it!