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 was still in print in His first novel, Alphabetical Africawas an experiment in alliteration, moving forward and backward through the alphabet while telling the story. He starts chapter one using only words that begin with the letter A. Walter Abish was born in Vienna, Austria. Moving, powerful, evocative and atmospheric bey… twitter. Ages ago an archaeologist, Albert, alias Arthur, ably attended an archaic African armchair affair at Antibes, attracting attention as an archaeologist and atheist.

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. I can’t recommend it uneq In retrospect, a gimmick, but an enjoyable and surprisingly readable one. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Calling this word experiment a novel seems a bit dishonest to me.


The writing is restricted by a pseudo- alliterative rule: Aug 04, Ethan Campbell rated it liked it. Alphabetisches Afrika – Deutschland. These sorts of limitations are played with adroitly by Abish, and add to the overall humor of the work.

How is it that adding the letter T, for example, had such a powerful affect, but taking it away didn’t.

But it also gives a lot to the story. This page was last edited on 11 Octoberat Joint description with post modern broken phrases, it feels like watching a play with fast pace rhythm. Be the first to discover new talent!


Alphabetical Africa

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Germany grows greater while Gabon grows food to feed it in the hopes that Germany will produce another mind as great at Goethe was.

It is written in the form of a novel. There are more alphabefical available with each chapter, but all the words in the world aren’t enough.

He has to wait for the 9th chapter before he can write in the first person what a nightmare for a metafictionist! One point of dispute is whether the failures to meet the constraint are alphabeticxl, and therefore potentially meaningful, or are simply editing mistakes. There is a story in here too, or rather several that get picked up and dropped as the lettering allows.

Alphabetical Africa – Walter Abish – Google Books

At first I admired his experimental prose. It took a alpjabetical chapters for me to find the rhythm of the story, but once I caught on, it was a good read. I only ask because it seems books like this aren’t very popular and I’ve had to dig around to find them.

Form, in Alphabetical Africais inseparable from content. But yes, there are many amusing and absurd incidents along the way, certainly a sufficient number to make the experiment a pleasure rather than a chore.

I do find I want the relationship between form and content to be acknowledged in some manner: Another abbreviation another abdomen another abduction another aberration another abhorrent ass another abnormal act another aboriginal another approach another absence Form did matter in a creative writing, at least in this case, the author convinced me.

View all 41 comments. I knew we would soon have to say goodbye to the queen but I hardly noticed her absence. Follow Me Through Fiction Enter your email address to follow this blog alphabeyical receive notifications of new alphhabetical by email. There are fifty-two chapters, each with letters for title: The wfrica constraint gave the book an interesting narrative drive: Africa is a mysterious place. The whole point is to get to the next level, which is always more difficult. H ard earned alphabets birth fresh characters ‘I’ finally enables chronicler’s appearance as a character himself.


This complicates matters, but it does not make African history less useful than other forms and approaches — indeed, as Abish knows: But here, it all appears wickedly simple.

Much of his childhood was spent in China. 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.

L ikable content is always desirable. Mentioning my memory makes me feel insecure. But the sentence immediately following serves the purpose of furthering one of his stories.

Admittedly, all ants are below a A wonderful little novel in the vein of Mid-Century Experimental Fiction Written Largely By White Dudes Who Look Kind Of Hideous, which is to say the narrative both 1 is incomprehensible through most of the work and 2 nevertheless moves along steadily and strangely and mesmerizingly like lava down the side of a volcano.

Alphabetical Africa is a constrained writing experiment by Walter Abish. SinceAbish Walter Abish is an American author of experimental novels and short stories. The book is playful enough to be fun, but it never stops screaming its serious intent. I’ll try to be brief: Is Allen a play on Allan Quatermain?