A brilliant, boundary-leaping debut novel tracing twelve-year-old
genius map maker T.S.Spivet's attempts to understand the ways of the
worldWhen twelve-year-old genius cartographer T.S. Spivet
receives an unexpected phone call from the Smithsonian announcing he
has won the prestigious Baird Award, life as normal—if you consider
mapping family dinner table conversation normal—is interrupted and a
wild cross-country adventure begins, taking T.S. from his family ranch
just north of Divide, Montana, to the museum's hallowed halls.
T.S. sets out alone, leaving before dawn with a plan to hop a freight
train and hobo east. Once aboard, his adventures step into high gear
and he meticulously maps, charts, and illustrates his exploits,
documenting mythical wormholes in the Midwest, the urban phenomenon of
"rims," and the pleasures of McDonald's, among other things. We come to
see the world through T.S.'s eyes and in his thorough investigation of
the outside world he also reveals himself. As he travels away
from the ranch and his family we learn how the journey also brings him
closer to home. A secret family history found within his luggage tells
the story of T.S.'s ancestors and their long-ago passage west, offering
profound insight into the family he left behind and his role within it.
As T.S. reads he discovers the sometimes shadowy boundary between fact
and fiction and realizes that, for all his analytical rigor, the world
around him is a mystery. All that he has learned is tested when
he arrives at the capital to claim his prize and is welcomed into
science's inner circle. For all its shine, fame seems more highly
valued than ideas in thisnew world and friends are hard to find.
T.S.'s trip begins at the Copper Top Ranch and the last known place he
stands is Washington, D.C., but his journey's movement is far harder to
track: How do you map the delicate lessons learned about family and
self? How do you depict how it feels to first venture out on your own?
Is there a definitive way to communicate the ebbs and tides of
heartbreak, loss, loneliness, love? These are the questions that strike
at the core of this very special debut.
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