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About the book
  • Published: 1 April 2014
  • ISBN: 9780099589990
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 400
  • RRP: $19.99

The Young and Prodigious TS Spivet

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A captivating, loveable novel of stunning originality and poignancy about a 12-year-old genius mapmaker. Now a major motion picture from the director of 'Amelie', starring Helena Bonham Carter.

Dear Spivet Family,
I have gone for a while to do some work. Don't worry, I'll be fine. I didn't want to bother you by telling about it ahead of time. Thank you for taking care of me. You are one of the best families in the world.
Love, T.S.

T.S. makes sense of his chaotic family life by drawing beautiful, meticulous maps kept in innumerable colour-coded notebooks. He is brilliant, and the Smithsonian Institution agrees, though when they award him a major scientific prize they don't suspect for a moment that he is twelve years old.

So begins T.S.'s life-changing adventure, travelling two thousand miles across America to reach the awards dinner, the secret-society membership and the TV interviews that beckon. But is this what he wants? Do maps and lists explain the world? And why are adults so strange?

  • Pub date: 1 April 2014
  • ISBN: 9780099589990
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 400
  • RRP: $19.99

About the Author

Reif Larsen

Reif Larsen is the author of The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet which was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and has now been made into a film by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the director of Amélie.

He studied at Brown University and has taught at Columbia University. His essays and fiction have appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, Tin House, The Millions and The Believer. He lives in Scotland.

Also by Reif Larsen

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Praise for The Young and Prodigious TS Spivet

“Here is a book that does the impossible: it combines Mark Twain, Thomas Pynchon, and Little Miss Sunshine. Good novels entertain; great ones come as a gift to the readers who are lucky enough to find them. This book is a treasure”

Stephen King

“Larsen has made an impressive mark ... spectacularly funny”

Sunday Times

“Reif Larsen's wonderful original debut, destined to please readers of all ages, is the Next Big Thing... echoes of Thomas Pynchon, Robert Coover and Nicholson Baker... a lively sophisticated narrative that looks to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”

Irish Times

“Impossible to put down. Engagingly poignant and charmingly quirky ... Larsen is an accomplished writer, but he's also a hugely gifted illustrator ... It's a genius debut.”

Daily Mail

“Fantastical, funny and delightfully original”


“A wilfully original and diverting book ... you can see exactly why it caused publishers to sit up. It is charming and kooky”


“Think Tom Sawyer with a passion for empirical science... one of the most original books of the year”


“Reif Larsen's debut novel combines meticulous eccentricity with an amazingly broad appeal ... the book is a thing of beauty in itself... TS's voice - and scientific pencil - enchant the reader ... TS's journey - towards forgiveness, understanding, adulthood, love - is a familiar one, but the views are spectacular.”


“We believe in Spivet because Larsen gives us so much that is elegant and even pretty to look at. The book is beautifully produced with drawings and maps, yet the account of the train journey in this attractively naïve voice would be admirable even if it were not framed and accompanied by sketches”


“It has the makings of a cult classic...a deliciously ambitious book, a confident blast of ideas - and a beautiful object”

Time Out

“Highly entertaining journey...Larsen will go on great things”


“Something very special...pure genius”

Sarah Broadhurst, The Bookseller

“a mind-bending journey into the strange world of Spivet [...] Magical”


“The real star of the show is Reif Larsen, a first time American novelist...Some of the sly coming-of-age humour is reminiscent of Huckleberry Finn, but it is also very much a modern novel”

Sunday Telegraph

“An endearing and original coming-of-age story”

Margaret Reynolds, The Times

“A wilfully original and diverting book, full of carefully penned ephemera.”

Tim Adams, Observer

“The tale of map-obsessed outcast TS Spivet is captivating but it's the intricate illustrations - from the temperamental family toaster to the trajectory of his father's whiskey sips - that make this a rewardingly unique read.”


“Larsen's achievement is to have created a quirky, engaging, painfully vulnerable hero - not to mention a book that's truly lovely to look at, heavily illustrated throughout with examples of T.S.'s prize-winning maps and charts.”

Daily Mail

“Larsen's debut is engaging... plenty of intelligent perceptions, and a generous smattering of Spivet's drawings”

Phil Baker, Sunday Times

“The Selected Works of TS Spivet is a joy; a colourful feast of a book... few [books are] as bold as refreshing as Reif Larsen's debut... The account of [Spivet's] adventure is engrossing and full of allusions to classic American literature... There's a lovely hand-crafted quality to the book, and even in paperback form it is a beautiful object”

David Evans, Independent on Sunday, Christmas round up

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