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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.

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Form, in Alphabetical Africais inseparable from content.

It is said that when Abish was notified of the errors, he reacted with total surprise. The first chapter “M” is not at all exceptional in this regard: And just to be clear about the argument I’m proposing: Books by Walter Abish.

Alphabetical Africa

Readers have noted that there are several places in the narrative where the constraint is violated. Really, by chapter E, the story didn’t feel especially constrained.

Y ou should read this only if you have a strong interest in experimental styles. Joint description with post modern broken phrases, it feels like watching a play with fast pace rhythm. Mar 15, Nick Scandy rated it really liked it. There are points in Alphabetical Africa where this language game works brilliantly well. Sounds like a VERY curious book! 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.

The second C -chapter contains an impermissible I near the end of the first paragraph: Each chapter also begins with a word beginning with the letter-heading — so the 26th and 27th chapters both begin with words starting with the letter Z, for example.


Surely she’s going to get killed off before the end of the second Q chapter?

Alphabetical Africa by Walter Abish

I only ask because it seems books like this aren’t very popular and I’ve had to dig around to find them. Another abbreviation another abdomen another abduction another aberration another abhorrent ass another abnormal act another aboriginal another approach another absence Jan 17, Megha rated it liked it Shelves: Quotes from Alphabetical Africa. German in the book is attractive to me, I believe it says something. Alphabetical Africa is a constrained writing experiment by Walter Abish. There are attacks of colonies of ants.

Then the letters disappear again: In the Future Perfect is a collection of short stories where words are juxtaposed in unusual patterns.

Buy them an editor! The oulipian constraint gave the alohabetical an interesting narrative drive: By clicking on “Submit” you agree that you have read and agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. X eric environs of Africa are, however, at times reflected in the narrative since it is somewhat lacking in engagement.


Characters kept appearing and then disappearing and I wasn’t ever sure if the “ants” were a metaphor for soldiers or not. Anyone can invent a constraint: It is written in the form of a novel.

I have much to say regarding its interpretation. Africa is a mysterious place. He also takes words from African dictionaries, listing them — but this too provides little additional insight. Dec 16, Geoffrey Fox rated alphabetcial it was amazing.


In Alphabetical Africa, for instance, the first chapter consists entirely of words beginning atrica the letter “A. Mar 15, Jeff rated it it was amazing. The adventures cryptically concern a nymph named Alva and her loves: High expectation of the book may bring Africa is a mysterious place.

V ocabularic efforts are very impressive, I’ll admit.

But everyone at diner genuinely alarmed by German’s great girth, by German’s great appetite. For those unaware, it is composed of 52 chapters, named in ascending and then descending alphabetical order. He’s a weird prose stylist all along, regardless of which letters he can and cannot use.

Despite occasionally wondering why anyone would bother trying, but being grateful that they did, I became curious about other novels with a limitation. Abish’s Africans also have clicking languages that can’t be reduced to the written word and thus remain outside his fiction. Although this was very clever, and surprisingly easily read once you add some B and C words, the tale was not the thing.

After all, it is good. Did you see what I did there? Never have I been disappointed to see the word “in. Alphabetical Africa kept cropping up again and again, so here it is.

Alphabetical Africa by Walter Abish. And then when the letters start to delete themselves again, it’s almost imperceptible.