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Alphabetical Africa (New Directions Books)

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g.) in A, he can only use words that begin with the letter A, in B he can then add using only lettered words that begin with A, or B, in C he can use words that begin with A, B, or C, and on with the same rule through to the descent Z-A when he removes chapter specific “lettered” words as he works toward the symmetry of the closing chapter A when, like the opening chapter, he can only use words that start with the letter A.

By using the Web site, you confirm that you have read, understood, and agreed to be bound by the Terms and Conditions. The same second C-chapter repeats the mistake two paragraphs later: : "After I cross a close-by creek". You know it's designed to be followed by an essay question: Is it an explosion of or an indulgence in colonialist narrative motifs? Story-wise, I’d probably give it just one star—it was weird and not to my taste—, but I guess I’d give the writing a 3, even if it’s more because of the idea than because of the execution.What struck me was how quickly, as the book opened up to using a wider vocabulary, the language felt natural. Then comes the reversal, with its inexorable decline, leading to the desperate final chapter, a list of "another"s ending in: "another Africa another alphabet" -- a brief gaze forwards as these ones are done with, withered away into silence and nothingness. A true highlight of the book are the illustrations rendered by Sue Todd who has chosen linoleum carving as her illustration medium. The 31st chapter (the second "V"-chapter) again no longer has any words beginning with the letters W, X, Y, or Z, for example.

Abish's style, even when unhampered by artificial constraints, is rather chastened and elliptic, so his fettered progress is steadier than you might imagine. After you have marveled at what he's done with his alphabetical rules and laughed at his stories, you're left wondering whether the two have collided randomly, or for surrealistic purpose, or whether, in fact, Abish never thought through the possible meanings of the lack of correspondence between his insouciant stories and his rigid rules.They were closed, and yet the owner, Dwain Kaiser, answered the phone anyway and urged me to drop by on Tuesday.

as well as posing the perplexing question of whether or not the slips were slipped in on purpose (and if so, why ? Finance is provided by PayPal Credit (a trading name of PayPal UK Ltd, Whittaker House, Whittaker Avenue, Richmond-Upon-Thames, Surrey, United Kingdom, TW9 1EH). And just to be clear about the argument I'm proposing: 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. An African Alphabet is an excellent alphabet book and merits both home purchase and acquisition by libraries serving its intended young audience. Indeed, when Abish is allowed to use those words, he uses it in copious amount, as if he was saving those words while he wasn't allowed to use them.In fact, much of the story takes place in Zanzibar, though that island can only be named in chapters 26 and 27. Afterwards, only a missing word starting with a T or, towards the end of the book, an “I” make you notice the gimmick (and kind of take you out of the story, though I guess that doesn’t matter that much in this kind of book). Fifty degrees in the winter feels remarkably warm (at least where I spend my winters), but the same temperature in the summer would be uncomfortably cold. It is an example of a book that reveals a crucial criterion for constrained writing: there needs to be a nameable connection between the linguistic constraint and whatever stories are being told. The story flows more freely and you find yourself feeling more at ease, in a familiar place—only to have that familiarity slowly taken from you and the unease setting back in, as you pass the halfway point, the process reverses, and you begin to lose letters again.

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