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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Quantitatively speaking, the constrain writing limits the length of each chapter. Alphabetical Africa by Walter Abish. Here is a sample sentence: Paperbackpages.

Quite a few things surprised me about this book.

We acknowledge and remind and warn you that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure. 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. Albert argumentatively answers at another apartment. In the Future Perfect is a collection of short stories where words are juxtaposed in unusual patterns. Part of the fun is in watching to see whether and how he can sustain it.

Never have I been disappointed to see the word abisj. The complete review ‘s Review:. Z ooming in and out effects do make for an interesting technique worth checking out.

And it isn’t until “Y” that he gets to use the third person. The lack of correspondence in “Alphabetical Africa” is its principal characteristic, I think: Take this paragraph from the first G chapter. The oulipian constraint gave the book an interesting narrative drive: He’s a weird prose stylist all along, regardless of which letters he can and cannot alphabeticwl.

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The plot is funny as hell. I think this matters because in the Abizh tradition, the stories that are told have some correspondence, in tone, philosophy, pointlessness, absurdity, and so on, to the rules the authors imposed on themselves.


Checking Into The Library 31, visits. But it also gives a lot to the story. Once the novel gets to Z, Abish begins removing letters until he has returned to a final chapter using only words that start with A again.

Like the alphabet, Africa too shifts shape in this novel. F urther chapters bring freedom and don’t ap A bish adroitly actualizes Africa. Do writers hate it when other writers do formal tricks and exercises like this?

Follow Me Through Fiction Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. B rilliant, albeit a bit boring, alphabetical adventure amuses.

D stylistically weird and entertaining- winning combo! Abish manages surprisingly well. Alphabetical Africa by Walter Abish. In “Alphabetical Africa”, each word in Chapter 1 begins with the letter A.

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

Ealter the first chapter, every word begins with A. This makes it bit more difficult to take the endeavour entirely seriously maybe it should be An Almost Alphabetical Africa? The 31st chapter the second “V”-chapter again no longer has any words beginning with the letters W, X, Y, or Z, for example.

In qlphabetical B, words all start with A or B. I dreamt of this book last night, though I didn’t dream of the plot. I can’t recommend it uneq In retrospect, a gimmick, but an enjoyable and surprisingly readable one. As letters were added to the alphabet the story became clearer, but never to an extent that I was intrigued by it. But here, it all appears wickedly simple.


Nov 05, Liz rated it it was ok Shelves: S hrinking African landscape is mirrored in shrinking language and shrinking populace. Then comes the reversal, with its inexorable decline, leading to the desperate final chapter, a list of “another”s ending in: Be the first to discover new talent! We have a narrator named A. Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review ‘s biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers.

Just as the principal character tries to make a life that will sum to nothing, so the writer’s constraints produce a distorted narrative that cannot conform to ordinary novels.

But the form — the constraint that holds Abish back — is actually a huge advance. The book is playful enough to be fun, but it never stops screaming its serious intent. In the latter half of the book, the letters of each chapter correspond with the last time words beginning with that letter can be used. In this way the prose expands and then contracts throughout the book.

A nd attractive Alva. However, I decided to go back to Chapter one, with all the A, and it feels very nature, so 5 star it is. There are also other plots to the novel.