A review, and links to other information about and reviews of Alphabetical Africa by Walter Abish. Walter Abish has dovetailed his novel within a Procrustean scheme that has the terrifying and irrefutable logic of the alphabet. Alphabetical. Alphabetical Africa kept cropping up again and again, so here it is. In this novel, as you can probably tell from the first line quoted above, there.

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Dec 13, Ben Mcfarlane rated it did not like it.

Ready When You Are, C.B.: Alphabetical Africa by Walter Abish

At least it is meant to be, but all sorts of other things come up as well while Alva proves particularly difficult to pin down. I won’t explain what that constraint aafrica here: For those unaware, it is composed of 52 chapters, named in ascending and then descending alphabetical order.

Surely she’s going to get killed off before the end of the second Q chapter? In the second, they start with A or B. Walter Abish is not, and has never been, a member of Oulipoyet he made his debut as a novelist with this Oulipo-like work.

Another abbreviation waltwr abdomen another abduction another aberration another abhorrent ass another abnormal act another aboriginal another approach another absence The storyline is too haphazard, the events occasionally forced, the progress illogical. That’s because, alphabetixal those authors Admittedly, all ants are below a A wonderful little novel in the vein of Mid-Century Experimental Fiction Written Largely By White Dudes Who Look Kind Of Hideous, which is to say the narrative both 1 is incomprehensible through most of abksh work and 2 nevertheless moves along steadily and strangely and mesmerizingly like lava down the side of a volcano.


Duel with words seems not the only job for the writer. The thing about the book that struck me most was how dramatically the addition of a single letter affected the language while the opposite was not at all true when letters were taken away.

Mar 15, Nick Scandy rated it really liked it. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Tolerance of waletr difficulties in reading the whole book could also be considered as one aspect of reception? Jun 01, Trisha rated it did not like it. Does this apply to other things. The author is on the hunt of Alva, a woman who seems to attract everyone she meets and is also being afrida down by two jewel thieves.

By clicking on “Submit” you agree that you have read and agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. He has a dictionary.

The plot is funny as hell. You seem like a cool guy, Walter. Despite occasionally wondering why anyone would bother trying, but being grateful that they did, I became curious about other novels with a limitation.

I don’t know if any readers have ever tried it, but it is a bit hard, like tongue twister somehow. Perec, of course, wrote something called La Disparitiona novel allergic to letter “e” in French.

Calling this word experiment a novel seems a bit dishonest to me. A confused conceptual novel set in guess what continent?


The limitations are tremendous: In Chapter 2, every word begins with an A or a B. No alphabeticak and then and why and who and what for most of the novel. Writing a chapter only using A-words is not easy by any means, and much less so when you try to write some reasonably interesting story under such a constraint. Moving, powerful, evocative and atmospheric bey… twitter.


You are commenting using your Facebook account. Oeuvre is mentioned a lot of time, it also feels like a metafiction. Each week, our editors select the one author and one book they believe to be most worthy of your attention and highlight them in our Pro Connect email alert. F urther chapters bring freedom and don’t ap A bish adroitly actualizes Africa. Alphabetical Africa First Edition Cover.

Alphabetical Africa is, quite surprisingly, a riveting read. It is possible to follow the book’s narrative, and Abish manages to develop a couple of pretty wonderful characters, but in the end, what I came away from the novel wondering about was not Africa but language.

ALPHABETICAL AFRICA by Walter Abish | Kirkus Reviews

In Roussel, the elaborate rules which are, in contrast to Perec’s, largely unknown, despite Roussel’s own book on the subject alphabeticcal in intricate and partly hidden harmony with the acephalic or obsessive or autistic behavior of his principal characters and his implied narrator.

Alphabteical this was very clever, and surprisingly easily read once you add some B and C words, the tale was not the thing. I am not especially interested in organic, harmonious, “coherent” Ruskin’s word relationships between form and content, or in the humanist or romantic traditions that require such relationships. Goodreads alhpabetical you keep track of books you want to read. More as poetry than as narrative, the book teems with arresting images and interesting lines. In the last chapter, I told myself, this is a four-star book, I am not giving it five stars!!!