S. is one of those books that it takes a while to recover from reading.
"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
There are several stories in S. There is the story being told in The Ship of Theseus, the book in question. There is the story of the author and his contemporaries. There is the story of the two people writing notes back and forth. And there are hints of other stories,
This book gets five stars for the experience, for the total lost-in-a-book feeling that it invoked. There are a number of ways that this book can be read, and I may try one of the others when I read it again, but, now that I have finished, I am glad that I read it the way that I did. I took it as it came: Page upon page, notes of all colors, ephemera, and all. I may read better stories this year, but I don't know that I will get as much sheer enjoyment out of reading a book for a long time.
***Note: If you are someone who needs loose ends to be neatly tied up and questions to be answered, you may not want to read this book.