Alphabetical Africa by Walter Abish

In the first chapter of this book every word starts with A. In the second chapter every word starts with A or B. In the third chapter every word starts with A, B, or C. The twenty-sixth chapter uses every letter of the alphabet. The twenty-seventh uses every letter except for Z. And so on.

What a fascinating game.

I really appreciate this as an idea. I love that someone set out to write a book like this, and then did it, and then it got published, and then is an actual readable novel. Is it a particularly awesome novel? Not really, but it has it’s moments.

There is a loose plot. There are characters. There’s a bit of a story, and a lot of themes. I’m not sure if it really hangs together, cause I certainly didn’t understand it all. But it was an interesting ambitious book, and I enjoyed it.

If it wasn’t the middle of the summer I might look up some academic articles on the text, and try to pick it apart further, but for right now I’m content to marvel at it’s existence.

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