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ABC: A Novelby David Plante
Synopses & Reviews
From the critically acclaimed author of more than a dozen novels comes a luminous and haunting story about grief and obsession, and about the need for meaning at the center of all of our lives.
In ABC’s unforgettable opening scene, Gerard, Peggy, and their 6-year-old son Harry are canoeing in a New Hampshire cove and come upon an abandoned wreck of a house they have observed for years but never entered. When Harry presses his parents to let him go and explore, Gerard follows him in and watches in horror as a freak accident he is powerless to stop unfolds before him, and a summer family idyll becomes, in an incalculable instant, the beginning of unbearable anguish.
Moments before Harry died, Gerard had picked up a crumpled piece of paper with letters of an unknown alphabet, which he later learns is Sanskrit. In the weeks following the accident he becomes obsessed with the origins of Indo-European alphabets, his fascination growing as boundless as his grief--and soon taking its place. Now, in pursuit of the story of the alphabet, he leaves his home, Peggy, his teaching job, and bands together with other grief-stricken “abecedarians” who believe that the alphabet as we know it had in its origins a meaning they are intent on uncovering. Their quest takes them to England, Greece, and finally, to an ancient site in the Syrian desert where the alphabet was incised on clay tablets some 4000 years ago. Yet what Gerard seeks is something beyond historical knowledge, and his journey itself has a meaning only revealed to him at its end.
A signally original and radiant novel, ABC illuminates the mysteries human life is full of, both in its horror and its joy.
An original and radiant novel about grief, obsession, and the need for meaning from the author of The Family, a finalist for the National Book Award.When his young son dies in a freak accident, Gerard struggles to find a reason in the smallest of details, including the scrap of paper containing the Sanskrit alphabet that is found at the site. Latching on to this final clue, he delves intothe origins of Indo-European alphabets, his fascination taking him to England, Greece, and finally, to an ancient site in the Syrian desert where the alphabet was born some 4000 years ago. Along the way he meets othergrieving parents, who accompany him on a journey that extends beyond historical knowledge and right into the heart of love and loss.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
In the wake of a freak accident in the New Hampshire woods that claims the life of his young son, a grieving Gerard becomes obsessed with a study of the Sanskrit language, an obsession that leads him to leave his wife Peggy and his teaching job to join other "abecedarians" in a quest to uncover the hidden meaning of the alphabet. 22,500 first printing.
About the Author
David Plante is the author of more than a dozen novels, including the Francoeur trilogy--The Family (a finalist for the National Book Award), The Woods, and The Country--and the nonfiction Difficult Women: A Memoir of Three and American Ghosts. His work has appeared in The New Yorker and The Paris Review. Plante teaches writing at Columbia University and lives in New York and London.
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