Wednesday 6 November 2013

Circles and Squares

While reading the book I noticed quite a few places where words have been circled and where they are enclosed by squares.

These can be simple words or small passages, so just in case they are significant I have tried to catalogue all of them. I have kept them separate so there is a circle list and a square list below, the circle list has either single words or smaller phrases, and the square list has a wide range of sizes.

I have tried to keep case and punctuation as it appears in the book, and hopefully any spelling mistakes are from the book not mine ! If I have missed any please let me know in the comments on this post.

Circled Words

vi - skullduggery - Blue
ix - Amanuensis - Blue
26 - Rest - Purple
42 - holystone - Blue
48 - sola - Blue
52 - "burden-shirt." - Blue
82 - Stenfalk - Blue
88 - leptorrhine - Blue
139 - fox - Blue
170 - plink - Orange
177 - Those cave walls! - Orange
189 - magical portal in the earth, - Blue
198 - blackscabbards - Blue
212 - B'lieve what y'want to b'lieve, Blue
225 - 9 - Blue
248 - "Who in the world do you think I am?" - Purple
253 - Osfour was real. - Purple
273 - miserable biscuit, - Blue
287 - You have choices to make. - Orange
297 - But now it does. - Purple
302 - 3 - Blue (footnote number)
317 - I'd like this to end, - Purple
321 - thing very like poetry! - Purple
323 - so very Shakespearean. - Blue
333 - coffee-brown - Purple
350 - supposed to - Purple
352 - "Follow the monkey," - Orange
367 - integrious - Blue
386 - plaque - Blue
393 - "already loaded," - Purple
417 - polar climate - Black
447 - he freezes, - Black

Squared Words

54 - Weepin hearts don' lass aseas. - Black
59 - A honyeybee ? -Blue
67 - try to keep his head above the waves - Pencil
162 - Stenfalk coughs blood that is now surprisingly dark, nearly purple. - Orange
168 - chamois - Pencil
170 - Oh, the mercy of water! - Pencil
172 - He has nothing but himself.
173 - like a puppet - Pencil
176 - when S. takes her by her good hand and says her name. - Blue
183 - Love? Smoething as banal as love? - Blue
191 - 4 For all Carbeau's accomplishments and tenacity, she appears to lack a degree of gravitas. - Black - Entire footnote
193 - "I'm right here," he says. "I am too," she says. - Green
194 - "Stop looking at me ," she says. "There's no time." - Orange
197 - they are falling - Blue
207 - the anonymous 1866 novel Les Demons en Haut, - Pencil - Part footnote
208 - Later, he remembers the piece of paper that was in his overcoat, wonders if it holds even the faintest of clues - Purple
213 - man-hauling - Blue
221 - The city looks sleepy, tucked in on itself - Orange
222 - Osfour. = Pencil
230 - roasting lamb and cumin. - Blue
249 - They leave by the other end of the alley. - Purple
274 - At night, he dreams of Sola. The dreams are mere fragments, scraps of narrative , and they come in different emotional tones and textures: 12
291 - between what was intended and what turned out to be. - Blue
300 - tubercular idiot-boys - Blue
308 - Saaksi - Black
312 - The Boss is reshaping the world according to his vision - the way all the greatest men in history have done - and you are an instrument of his epic will. - Blue
321 - If only he could summon her. - Red
334 - Anca and the man as Waqar - Orange
334 - "Taraqachi, - Pencil
337 - Keep going, she'd said plainly. Keep paddling and you'll find yourself. - Purple
341 - Nemec, - Pencil
357 - Of course he changed his name. - Orange
359 - Reminds himself to stay calm. - Purple
367 - Mercury - Black
369 - There is the possibility of a happy ending. - Blue
379 - Palimpsests - Black
382 - A bird of negative space. - Orange
383 - Will today be the day when another resident raises his head and meets S.'s eyes? Acknowledges, even in these circumstances, a shared humanity? - Purple
386 - Ninth - Pencil (possibly "e ninth")
401 - "It's good to see you," S. lies. - Purple
404 - "That has never been my role," - Purple
417 - passage, - Pencil
421 - warm food, pour drinks - Black
422 - Tupp, - Blue
422 - Roselin - Blue
426 - "We don't receive explanations," Tupp says, "You'll have to decide for yourself." - Purple
432 - brewing a cup of tea. - Black
438 - "What if Father sees me with a black tongue?" - Orange


  1. Hey Zort nice list. I was keeping track of the circled words as I read. I didn't want to go through the book and find them I preferred to read the book first. I'm almost done with the book then I can enjoy the blog fully.

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  2. After thinking about this for a few minutes as I try to keep my head exploding from finding this site and trying to not read too much and spoil the book. I believe the circle and square words and phrases coincide with the characters reading the book, the people involved with S and Straka him/herself. The characters and the birds represented in some way the people Straka knew during his or her life time. Thus most of the phrases in the squared grouping represent characteristics or life events of either Straka or the people he knew. So I conclude that the circles and squares are only significant in the book itself and not so much the expanded universe that Abrahms and Dorst created.

  3. I've also noticed that sometimes the writing falls right above the printed horizontal line (below the text but above the page number) at the bottom of the page. Pages 116, 161 & 163 are good examples of this. Not sure if this means any thing as I just finished the book and am only just starting to get into the puzzles.

  4. Along the lines of circled and squared words, there are many words that are underlined. Some are underlined once and some are underlined twice.

    1. Yes, I have thought about compiling a list of those, but just haven't had the time recently to dive back into S.

      If anyone wants to do that for us I'm more than happy to publish the list.

    2. Zort, I've started it. I don't know how long it will take tho.....

  5. The above is in response to "magical portal to the earth"

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