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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. 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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Abish’s work shows both imaginative and experimental elements. See 2 questions about Alphabetical Africa…. 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. Newer Post Older Post Home. But abiah sentence immediately following serves the purpose of furthering one of his stories. Writing a chapter only using A-words is not easy by any means, and much less so when you try to write some reasonably interesting story under such a constraint.

Most counts of these violations number them between four and six; however, up to 43 have been noted by astute readers.


The story was grasping. Waltfr large part due the narrative limitations – of which I am in fact a bit in awe of – the prose and narrative never really gels, and some of the earlier and later chapters read more like alliterative word salad than propulsive narration, and can be appreciated for their formulation, but are not necessarily that enjoyable of a read. I think this matters because in the Oulipo tradition, the stories that are told have some correspondence, in tone, abis, pointlessness, absurdity, and so on, to the rules the authors imposed on themselves.


Jan 24, Rolland rated it really liked it.

Alphabetical Africa

The second C -chapter contains an impermissible I near the end of the first paragraph: Part of the fun is in watching to see whether and how he can sustain it. This is a curious book.

But, as long as I started to read the book out loud, I feel the content itself. Full review in my blog The fact that he fails a few times is particularly worrisome — how could that happen?

But here, it all appears wickedly walfer.

As the book progresses and the number of permissible words grows, he finds: Walter Abish is not, and has never been, a member of Oulipoyet he made his debut as a novelist with this Oulipo-like work.

The American writer Walter Abish b. Nov 05, Liz rated it it was ok Shelves: I dreamt of this book last night, though I didn’t dream of the plot.

A nts, alligators and antelopes. I only ask because it seems books like this aren’t very popular and I’ve had to dig around to find them. Ages ago an archaeologist, Albert, alias Arthur, ably attended an archaic African armchair affair at Antibes, attracting attention as an archaeologist and atheist. There are also other plots to the novel. A reader watches the first letters of many words, and also attends to the stories.

All of the words in chapter 1 begin with the letter ‘a’. I didn’t notice it when T or S or M left the scene, but by the letter H I felt the effect of each new loss. Abish’s fascination with human communication led him to write works focused on the use of language.

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

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.


It was still in print in Some narrative quirks arise from this: The form and style of this book is really embedded in the shrinking Africa. Throughout the s, he wrote short stories that demonstrated a variety of unique writing formats. And so on, to where more and more words are allowed as the book progresses to its apex. Post modern way of creative writing, this way could inspire, but also, I feel my imagination is as well constrained.

Alphabetical Africa Walter Abish No preview available – He has a dictionary.

Enjoyed the book, but the plot is obscure. S econd half methodically loses alphabets, and hence names of people and places are lost.

Ready When You Are, C.B.: Alphabetical Africa by Walter Abish

The author adds each letter of the alphabet to the story and then subsequently removes them. I find fewer and fewer impediments. In “Alphabetical Abksh, each word in Chapter 1 begins with the letter A. The writing is restricted by a pseudo- alliterative rule: The same second C -chapter repeats the mistake two paragraphs later: