How do I even begin to review this book? It's not so much a book, as an experience
, I think.
Firstly, just as a physical object, it is A Beautiful Thing. Every book lover should own a physical copy of this book, and although an e-book format (for tablets) exists, it would lose something important to it in that form. Part of the joy of this book is that you have a physical copy of the book-within-the-book, Ship of Theseus
, complete with library date stamps with the look and feel of an old and well loved book - it even smells like it! Within you have the hand-written annotations and notes of two people studying the book, trying to divine its secrets and identify its author and his story. There are also numerous inserts, items the readers have exchanged with each other... letters, postcards, a hand drawn map on a napkin, a newspaper clipping, photographs and more. Of course, all of these things are mass produced items, but the quality of them is such that sometimes you forget that. It feels very much like you are handling the very book and ephemera that Jen and Eric (our two readers) did.
The story, unsurprisingly given the above, is multi-layered. As you read through S
several stories reveal themselves. The most blatant of these is Ship of Theseus
itself complete with footnotes, which is itself also revealing of a story connecting to the author. There is also the story of Jen and Eric. And these stories are interconnected, with many parallels. That in itself is another story.
And there are the puzzles. Some are obvious. Some the book answers for us. But others will take rereading and checking out other sources (there are various related websites) to even reveal the puzzle, let alone solve it. Technically, I may have finished the book, but I have by no means finished with it - there is a lot here to examine and reexamine and reread, and I still have questions which I will no doubt enjoy trying to answer, even if I ultimately can't.
This may just possibly be my favourite book ever.