So we have two people who have never met . . .

S. - Doug Dorst, J.J. Abrams

. . . an undergrad and a doctoral candidate, who have fallen into communicating with each other by means of a book -- a book in which the male protagonist (the doctoral student) has made notes; a book which is part of his research in answering questions regarding certain mysteries involving a reclusive author and his translator; a book which, one day,  the student inadvertently leaves behind on the library table in his study carrel and which is found by another student working in the library.


Intrigued by the notes he has written in the margins of the book, she responds to his remarks and leaves the book for him to find on his return.  A correspondence of sorts is struck, and the by-play between the two students is every bit as fascinating as the tale told in the book they are sharing.


Here is an example:


(The undergrad)

Funny that FXC writes out 'nineteen' once and uses '19' right after.


(The grad)

You're right FXC might be an idiot, but he's not sloppy. So if we're looking for things that might be signals…


Exactly what I was thinking.

Eric - Check this out! First & last letters in ch. 1 footnotes gives you: [AR GO SY EV ER Y19th 1900H RS] And there was an Argosy Hotel on East 38th St.!!
My Theory: FXC did believe VMS was alive and ...


Or wanted to


... was telling him how/when/where they could meet.


Good catch. You know, for an undergrad.


You can pretend to be cool all you want, but I know you're jumping up and down, wherever you are. The question is: was he alive??


That's one question, anyway.


Eric!! – I tracked down passenger manifests for every ship that arrived in NY from Brazil between 1923–1929. There's no Francisco Filip Xabregas Caldeira… BUT: there was a Filomela Xabregas Caldeira who showed up often on the crew of the Imperio – as a translator.


WOW. I mean, WOW. So: maybe love?


So: Maybe love.


You really found this? You'd better not be kidding. Changes everything.


Not kidding.


Marry me.


Okay – even as a joke, that's a little creepy. At least until we meet. Probably after, too.


Sorry. Trying to express extreme gratitude & excitement & respect. Not used to doing that.


Your personal warmth just leaps off the page.