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Dustin has commented on (1) product.

The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus
The Flame Alphabet

Dustin, January 30, 2013

This book appeared among my library holds one day with my name on it and no memory of having reserved it. This happens a lot, and I'm grateful for the discovery. Marcus literalizes the old philosophical trope about the impossibility of communication by progressively stripping away more and more opportunities for human understanding. The speech of others is, at first painful to endure, then completely toxic. Even writing and gestural languages become too unbearable to attempt. There are painful scenes of parents willfully subjecting themselves to the agonizing voices of their children. Or hiding in their bedrooms, peeking through a crack just for a glimpse of their newly-toxic offspring. There was so much potential here for exploring the limits of intelligibility and the breakdown of our interdependence that I was disappointed in how the book felt almost like a conventional suspense novel, complete with a mysterious villain, as it approached the end. But no book I read in 2012 was as fascinating or enduring as this one. Four out of five for the plot not living up to the premise, but I can't say I read a five-star book all year.
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