S. Book Summary

by J. J. Abrams, Doug Dorst10


S. by J. J. Abrams and Doug Dorst intertwines two narratives: a mysterious novel 'Ship of Theseus' and the margin notes of two readers uncovering its secrets and each other.

What is S. about

S. is a multi-layered narrative masterpiece created by J. J. Abrams and Doug Dorst. The book primarily consists of 'Ship of Theseus,' a novel by the fictional author V. M. Straka, which tells the story of a man with no past who is shanghaied onto an enigmatic ship. Alongside this narrative, readers Jennifer and Eric communicate through margin notes, uncovering mysteries about Straka and themselves. The book is a tribute to the written word and explores themes of identity, trust, and the power of literature to connect individuals.

S. 7 Key Takeaways

Discovery of Ship of Theseus

Jennifer, a college senior, finds a copy of 'Ship of Theseus' in her library with margin notes from a stranger, Eric.

Jennifer and Eric's margin notes

Through their annotations, Jennifer and Eric begin an intellectual conversation, revealing their individual struggles and questions about the mysterious author V. M. Straka.

The journey in Ship of Theseus

'Ship of Theseus' follows a man with no memory who is forced onto a ship with an eerie crew, embarking on a perilous journey that mirrors the readers' quest.

Uncovering Straka's identity

Eric and Jennifer's annotations reveal their attempts to uncover V. M. Straka's true identity, encountering various clues and red herrings.

Personal growth

As they delve deeper into the mystery, both characters confront their own pasts, fears, and potential futures, developing a deeper connection.

Climax and revelation

The marginal storyline reaches a climax as Jennifer and Eric come closer to understanding Straka's true identity, facing dangers and personal stakes heightened by their discoveries.

Convergence of stories

The narratives of 'Ship of Theseus' and the readers' lives converge, highlighting themes of identity, trust, and the transformative power of literature.

S. Best Reviews

  • 'S. is an intricate and absorbing puzzle—both a novel and a commentary on the nature of storytelling.' - The New York Times
  • 'A daring and thrilling literary experiment, S. is a must-read for fans of complex, multi-layered narratives.' - The Guardian

Top S. Quotes

  • 'What begins at the water shall end there, and what ends there shall once more begin.'
  • 'It's not about the ending, but about the path you take to get there.'

Who should read S.?

S. is ideal for readers who appreciate complex, multilayered stories and enjoy unraveling mysteries. It's also perfect for fans of metafiction and those who love the thrill of a narrative puzzle.

About the Author

J. J. Abrams is an acclaimed filmmaker known for works like 'Lost,' 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens,' and 'Star Trek.' Doug Dorst is an award-winning novelist and an assistant professor of writing. Together, they created S., a testament to their storytelling prowess and creative synergy.


Is S and Ship of Theseus the same book?

S consists of the novel 'Ship of Theseus' by fictional author V.M. Straka and the marginal notes of two readers, creating a separate narrative.

What is S about book?

S. is about a young woman who discovers a book called 'Ship of Theseus' in her college library. She finds margin notes from a grad student, initiating a conversation that leads them into a deeper mystery.

When was S published?

S. was originally published on October 29, 2013.