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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It is said that when Abish was notified of the errors, he reacted with total surprise. Killing becomes something usual and routine, again, the exposure of the secret continent. And then it reverses in the second, backward wa,ter Z to Ashrinking the word choices as letters begin to be subtracted one at a time.

View all 16 comments. There is ant-warfare of a very colourful sort.

“Alphabetical Africa” by Walter Abish () | Fell From Fiction

Of course, once the book reached a certain point, once enough zbish had been removed to dramatically affect the language that was left, each letter was greatly missed. There are more words available with each chapter, but all the words in the world aren’t enough.

First of all, there isn’t much of a constraint after the chapter H — as soon as he is allowed to use the word “I”, the exotic bondage of alphabetical constraints mostly disappear. A nd attractive Alva. The book is playful enough to be fun, but it never stops screaming its serious intent.


As an independent piece, absolutely incredible. That’s why I’m giving this a 3.

At first I admired his experimental prose. Are Boyd’s Congolese detectives effectively frisking grass huts in Jubba? F irst few chapters are a bit constrained, as expected. In this novel, as you can probably tell from the first line quoted above, there is a limitation on the letter words start with. There is absih story in here too, or rather several that get picked up and dropped as the lettering allows.


Queen Quat figures prominently for a while — though the narrator finds, looking back over newspaper clippings, that “her name has been omitted” — a common fate for characters in this novel, one suspects.

Alphabetical Africa

His linguistic constraints are “terrifying and irrefutable,” as Ashbery says chapters from A to Z and back to A, each one containing only a subset of letters of the alphabetbut th How Form and Content Can Be Connected This book isn’t simply “in the line of writers such as Raymond Roussel, Raymond Queneau, Georges Perec and Harry Mathews,” as Ashbery says in the back cover copy.

Trying to meet all your book preview and review needs. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: I only ask because it seems books like this aren’t very popular and I’ve had to dig around to find them. As letters were added to the alphabet the story became clearer, but never to an extent that I was intrigued by it. Brisk, playful and at times insightful. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. A major character introduced in the first Q chapter is named Queen Quat.

The same second C -chapter repeats the mistake two paragraphs later: It is an example of a book that reveals a crucial criterion for constrained writing: You are commenting using your Facebook account. Albert argumentatively answers at another apa A peek on first paragraph: Note the constraint in this book, by itself, isn’t interesting. There are attacks of colonies of ants. Never have I been disappointe I heard about watler book a few years ago and alphbetical intrigued by the constraints Abish put on himself while writing: To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: For example, the c chapter contains words only beginning with a, b, or c.

Alphabetical Africa – Canada. Return to Book Page. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.

Words are both tool and hindrance. An excellent work ablsh experimental fiction in novel form, Alphabetical Africa relies on a rather eccentric structural constraint in order to develop its quirky, improbable and hilarious narrative. While the “geoglyphic” African landscape forms and crumbles, africw is, among other things, attacked by an army of driver ants, invaded by Zanzibar, painted orange by the transvestite Queen Quat of Tanzania, and becomes a hunting ground for a pair of murderous jewel thieves tracking down their nymphomaniac moll.


Anyhow, all concur America’s angst cannot corrupt Chadians,” p.

Alphabetical Africa – Walter Abish

Even a letter with a limited lexicon like Q dramatically affects a novel about Africa by allowing the entrance of a queen. Nov 15, John Wiswell rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Does this apply to africx things.

So it is not clear how we are expected to attend to the alliterations. That’s because, unlike those authors, Abish does not try to match his stories with the constraints he gives himself. The first O -chapter features a premature P in the penultimate paragraph: For the longest time, I didn’t even notice it. 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.

Mar 20, Rhys rated it really liked it. He is salter for his love, Alva. Alphabetical Africa, Walter Abish’s delightful first novel, is an extraordinary linguistic tour de force, high comedy set in an imaginary dark continent that expands and contracts with ineluctable precision, as one by one the author adds the letters of the alphabet to his book, and then subtracts them. Before, I don’t quite believe it.