Synopses & Reviews
, Walter Abish's delightful first novel, is an extraordinary linguistic tour de force, high comedy set in an imaginary dark continent that expands and contracts with ineluctable precision, as one by one the author adds the letters of the alphabet to his book, and then subtracts them. While the "geoglyphic" African landscape forms and crumbles, it is, among other things, attacked by an army of driver ants, invaded by Zanzibar, painted orange by the transvestite Queen Quat of Tanzania, and becomes a hunting ground for a pair of murderous jewel thieves tracking down their nymphomaniac moll.
Abish, Alphbetical Africa. A continent forms and crumbles through a linguistic tour de force.
"Walter Abish has dovetailed his novel within a Procrustean scheme that has the terrifying and irrefutable logic of the alphabet. is in the line of writers such as Raymond Roussel, Raymond Queneau, Georges Perec and Harry Mathews, who have used constrictive forms to penetrate the space on the other side of poetry." -- John Ashbery
About the Author
Walter Abish (1931- ) was born in Vienna but fled from the Nazis to Italy and later to Nice with his family while still a young child. They settled in Shanghai for most of the 1940s, and then relocated to Israel in 1949, where Abish served in the army and developed an interest in literature and writing. He moved to the United States in 1957 and became an American citizen in 1960. He's taught at several universities in the US, served on the International PEN board, and has won Guggenheim and MacArthur fellowships.