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. “Ages ago, Alex, Allen and Alva arrived at Antibes, and Alva, allowing all, allowing anyone, against Alex’s admonition, against Allen’s angry.

Author: Akikora JoJonris
Country: Grenada
Language: English (Spanish)
Genre: Love
Published (Last): 12 June 2007
Pages: 229
PDF File Size: 18.60 Mb
ePub File Size: 13.82 Mb
ISBN: 158-2-54830-545-8
Downloads: 51395
Price: Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]
Uploader: Tojind

None of the characters is impressive, only the narrator “I”, and Alva This continues for the alpyabetical 25 chapters, until at last Abish is briefly allowed to write without constraint. Twitter Updates RT brownboklit: Join other followers.

S hrinking African landscape is mirrored in shrinking language and shrinking populace. More on this at the end. I only ask because it seems books like this aren’t very popular and I’ve had to dig around to find them.

It’s a single paragraph, simply a list of things each prefaced with the word ‘another’ but this makes for a powerful statement. The story builds as the letters are added, following an author, a beautiful blonde and two criminals as they crisscross Africa, a continent that diminishes and erodes as the story goes on. However, on the way backwards through the alphabet, I very quickly noticed the restricted vocabulary.

The second C -chapter contains an impermissible I near the end of the first paragraph: Ages ago an archaeologist, Albert, alias Arthur, ably attended an archaic African armchair affair at Antibes, attracting attention as an archaeologist and atheist. The complete review came across the following slips: The alphabetical structure is closely tied to the content. Amidst endless self-conscious word-play and the intrusion of the author circa late ’60’s literary avant-garde there is some humor: You are commenting using your WordPress.


The story reaches maximum freedom at the midpoint of the book; then, in strict accordance with the overall constraint, the frame begins to become more rigorous again. When we add a person, a new friend, to our lives they can certainly cause a dramatic change in our everyday world.


There are two shady characters, Allen and Alex, who killed a jeweler. Zealous Yolanda, Xavier’s wanton, vicious uppercut tingling, squeezes royally Queen Philomena’s open, noisome mouth like kneading junket, is happy getting fucked even daily, casually, by Alfred.

For reasons I don’t quite understand, the most interesting chapters are the ones where he’s more restricted, versus the ones where he gives himself more freedom. As letters were added to the alphabet the story became clearer, but never to an extent that I was intrigued by it. The oulipian constraint gave the book an interesting narrative drive: Thus, z words disappear in chapter 27, y in chapter 28, etc Create a free website alphabetival blog at WordPress.

N arrative covers many aspects – murder, loot, chase, battles, ant extermination, colonization, foreign investors, changing African landscape and culture, amorous escapades alhpabetical and much more.

Alphabetical Africa wallter Walter Abish is a language game which watler beauty and ugliness, story and non-story and make for a difficult read. An excellent work of experimental fiction in novel form, Alphabetical Africa relies on a rather eccentric structural constraint in order to develop its quirky, improbable and hilarious narrative. This is ironic, given that the frame within which the story must operate is so rigorous at ahish beginning; as the rigor progressively lessens, so the story loosens up and becomes more coherent.

To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: Enjoyed the book, but the plot is obscure. And then it reverses in the second, backward pass Z to Ashrinking the word choices as letters begin to be subtracted one at a time. This is a curious book.


ALPHABETICAL AFRICA by Walter Abish | Kirkus Reviews

But it also gives a lot to the story. Unlike a regular book, namely Conrad’s, it is a master piece in terms of cultural narratology.

Form did matter in a creative writing, at least in this case, the author convinced me. 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 the work and 2 nevertheless moves along steadily and strangely and mesmerizingly like lava alphbetical the side of a volcano.

No the and then and why and who and what for most of the novel. Do they find it ma I thought this was fantastic. This is walteer, given that the frame within which the story must operate is so rigorous at the beginning; as the rigor progressively lessens, so An excellent work of experimental fiction afric novel form, Alphabetical Africa relies on a rather eccentric structural constraint in order to develop its quirky, improbable and hilarious narrative.

I dreamt of this book last night, though I didn’t dream of the plot. For example, the c chapter contains words only beginning with a, b, qlphabetical c.