❰PDF / Epub❯ ☁ Alphabetical Africa (New Directions Book) Author Walter Abish – Transportjobsite.co.uk

❰PDF / Epub❯ ☁ Alphabetical Africa (New Directions Book) Author Walter Abish – Transportjobsite.co.uk chapter 1 Alphabetical Africa (New Directions Book), meaning Alphabetical Africa (New Directions Book), genre Alphabetical Africa (New Directions Book), book cover Alphabetical Africa (New Directions Book), flies Alphabetical Africa (New Directions Book), Alphabetical Africa (New Directions Book) c167219436170 Alphabetical Africa, 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

10 thoughts on “Alphabetical Africa (New Directions Book)

  1. says:

    Abish adroitly actualizes Africa Arts and ambiance Ants, alligators and antelopes And attractive Alva.Brilliant, albeit a bit boring, alphabetical adventure amuses.Cross continental chase after Alva carries author all around Africa Characteristic African culture becomes apparent.Demanding constraints delimit Africa s alphabetical boundaries.Experimental aspects don t always dominate composition.First few chapters are a bit constrained, as expected Further chapters bring freedom and don t appear especially awkward.Growing alphabetical bank also allows African country s expansion.Hard earned alphabets birth fresh characters I finally enables chronicler s appearance as a character himself.Justifiably, I s entry brings changes in descriptive direction.Keenly advancing, Abish accomplishes his experimentation goals admirably.Linguistic gymnastics can t be enough for every literature lover, however Likable content is always desirable.Modes of communication cuneiform codes, click lanuguages, communication across foreign dialects form a frequent motif.Narrative covers many aspects murder, loot, chase, battles, ant extermination, colonization, foreign investors, changing African landscape and culture, amorous escapades and much .Over all, it is fairly imaginative but it lacks focus and often digresses into abstraction.Plot has to lose characters as their first name initial alphabet is dropped.Quite often, a character s involvement is limited by his her allowed presence.Regardless, I enjoyed one particularly interesting element of Alphabetical Africa.Second half methodically loses alphabets, and hence names of people and places are lost Shrinking African landscape is mirrored in shrinking language and shrinking populace.Technique of narration nicely parallels the content in this manner Territory of Africa expands and contracts just as the language does.Unfortuantely, Abish s innovative style doesn t make for an interesting read most of the time.Vocabularic efforts are very impressive, I ll admit Walter Walter Abish Well, I can finally be on first name terms with the author Xeric environs of Africa are, however, at times reflected in the narrative since it is somewhat lacking in engagement.You should read this only if you have a strong interest in experimental styles Zooming in and out effects do make for an interesting technique worth checking out.

  2. says:

    I suppose any review of this book has to explain the unusual form I ll try to be brief the first chapter is composed entirely with words that begin with the letter a , the second with words beginning with either a or b , and each successive chapter adds a letter until the 26th chapter which can make use of words beginning with any letter at which point the process reverses until we end back at a Quite a few things surprised me about this book First of all, I was surprised at how much sense Abish makes in the first chapter Here is a sample sentence Ages ago an archaeologist, Albert, alias Arthur, ably attended an archaic African armchair affair at Antibes, attracting attention as an archeologist and atheist Cool, huh Anyway, I was also surprised at how engaging this weird little formal experiment turns out to be It is fascinating to watch a wildly all over the place author struggle with his own self imposed and rather stringent restrictions Each chapter allows him an opportunity to unloose a whole new bank of words that you know he has just been dying to use from the beginning He has to wait for the 9th chapter before he can write in the first person what a nightmare for a metafictionist and you better believe he makes immediate use of that I And it isn t until Y that he gets to use the third person The story is crazy too it forms and disintegrates in time with the novel s language.This book will delight all logophiles and bore the alphabetical crap out of anybody else.

  3. says:

    I believe most people familiar with the Oulipo group are familiar with this book Abish s first novel and it s structure limitation For those unaware, it is composed of 52 chapters, named in ascending and then descending alphabetical order The way they work is as such in the first chapter A the words only begin with the letter A In chapter B, words all start with A or B And so on, to where and words are allowed as the book progresses to its apex In the latter half of the book, the letters of each chapter correspond with the last time words beginning with that letter can be used In this way the prose expands and then contracts throughout the book.Some narrative quirks arise from this the book is a first person narrative, but the narrator cannot make an appearance until chapter I, and then must disappear after the second chapter I though Abish finds a way to allude to the first person narrative in the closing chapters Of course, the word the can only be used between the two chapter T s a limitation Perec and his translator both wrestled with in A Void though of course Perec did have the feminine singular form available.The plot also is restricted by these limitations a central storyline revolves around a kidnapping and a murder, though these incidents can t be expanded upon until the relevant letters are allowed into the narrative These sorts of limitations are played with adroitly by Abish, and add to the overall humor of the work Most of the other humor borders on lunatic slapstick, and works in some parts, not so much at others.In 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 like alliterative word salad than propulsive narration, and can be appreciated for their formulation, but are not necessarily that enjoyable of a read.As far as form and limitation go, as far as precise execution, this book succeeds admirably but it manages to not be as good as the works by Perec or Brooke Rose or Queneau as it lacks the easygoing humor and playfulness of those authors they somehow managed to incorporate rigid and unforgiving limitation into their works, and still managed to produce works of literature that could stand on their own Abish had produced a curiosity it is well crafted, and worth discovering, but it is only as good as its limitation, nothing .

  4. says:

    How Form and Content Can Be ConnectedThis 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 That s because, unlike those authors, Abish does not try to match his stories with the constraints he gives himself 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 alphabet , but the stories he tells are carefree and funny.I think this matters because in the Oulipo tradition, the stories that are told have some correspondence, in tone, philosophy, pointlessness, absurdity, and so on, to the rules the authors imposed on themselves That correspondence is the glue that binds the books together otherwise Perec and others could have simply taken existing novels or newspaper accounts as Goldsmith and others do now and subjected them to predetermined rules The lack of correspondence in Alphabetical Africa is its principal characteristic, I think after you have marveled at what he s done with his alphabetical rules, and after you ve laughed at his stories, you re left wondering whether the two have collided randomly, or for surrealistic purpose, or whether, in fact, Abish never thought through the possible meanings of the lack of correspondence between his insouciant stories and his rigid rules More on this at the end.In Perec s Life A User s Guide, for example, the elaborately constrained writing is in close harmony with the stories of the people in the apartment building Just as the principal character tries to make a life that will sum to nothing, so the writer s constraints produce a distorted narrative that cannot conform to ordinary novels In Roussel, the elaborate rules which are, in contrast to Perec s, largely unknown, despite Roussel s own book on the subject are in intricate and partly hidden harmony with the acephalic or obsessive or autistic behavior of his principal characters and his implied narrator Alphabetical Africa is often funny Its humor is a kind I recognize in other authors of the 1970s He is interested in Africa s politics But can Alva s claims also cure Americans bombing Chad beaches Anyhow, all concur America s angst cannot corrupt Chadians, p 6 , in the absurdity of the places he visits, and in the ridiculous continuation of colonial and tourist expectations but he is insouciant about most of it He is untroubled about mentioning that his characters take acid they are who they are The result is a politically invested but carefree tone that reminds me, in a different sphere, of Arlo Guthrie He spins clich plots about dictators, spies, and murders, and he weaves in tourist impressions and fears, all in a kind of deadpan colloquial collage Meanwhile, each chapter in the first half of the book adds another letter, and each chapter in the second half subtracts one, and the machinery of that expansion and contraction works alongside the stories but almost never to any determinate purpose A reader watches the first letters of many words, and also attends to the stories The result is not a surrealist juxtaposition, because it so often seems that Abish is simply trying to write well, in spite of his own constraints The first chapter M is not at all exceptional in this regard M My memory isn t accurate any Mentioning my memory makes me feel insecure A few months ago Alex and Allen kidnapped a jeweler in Antibes and killed him almost inadvertently Because this is chapter M, a reader will be watching for Abish to display as many m s as he can So the second sentence here, with four m s, stands out But the sentence immediately following serves the purpose of furthering one of his stories So it is not clear how we are expected to attend to the alliterations Are we to read as Oulipeans for part of one sentence, and then forget that regimen, and think instead about the plot When Alphabetical Africa is funny, it is so in spite of its linguistic constraints The first chapter C is an excellent example it s really funny, and doesn t suffer, but also doesn t gain, by being constrained to words beginning with a, b, or c Same when it s violent, or absurdist, or intentionally hackneyed.The principal expressive option here would be surrealism the stories would be juxtaposed in unexpected and irrational ways with the language used to express them But that does not happen often, or consistently, and sometimes it seems not to happen intentionally In most cases, Abish s narrator seems to have one set of concerns, and his compositor another.In the end, it seemed to me that this is a lighthearted spoof about American attitudes to Africa in the 1970s, placed, for reasons I think the author himself never entirely analyzed, into the terrifying and irrefutable Procrustean frame of a linguistic game It is an example of a book that reveals a crucial criterion for constrained writing there needs to be a nameable connection between the linguistic constraint and whatever stories are being told That connection can be a contrast irrational, surrealist, or satiric or a harmonious correspondence between constrained lives and rule bound writing, between partly unknowable psychologies and partly private constraints, etc but it has to be something the reader can conclude was planned and controlled, or at least observed, by the writer Reading this on Facebook July 2014, Andrei Molotiu noted that some Oulipo writers seem to be great despite their Oulipean interests I might not be interested in such a writer There should be a strong connection between story and constraints it can be a strong contrast, or dissociation, or affinity, but it really has to work as a whole otherwise it seems to me the interest of any constraint is diminished Note the constraint in this book, by itself, isn t interesting Anyone can invent a constraint not everyone can write a book based on a constraint, but that s not a very interesting goal anyway Relatively few people can figure out how to link or contrast the constraint to the material story, subject matter, voice, mood.And just to be clear about the argument I m proposing I am not especially interested in organic, harmonious, coherent Ruskin s word relationships between form and content, or in the humanist or romantic traditions that require such relationships I do find I want the relationship between form and content to be acknowledged in some manner form and content can exhibit a radical disconnection, disharmony, incoherence, randomness, surrealism, or irrationalism regardless of the kind of relationship, I am most engaged when the author or the narrator, or the text demonstrates that the problem has been considered Abish doesn t seem to notice, or care.

  5. says:

    Africa is a mysterious place.Boring with all the ants and antelopes and the click language, because it feels plain Continent probably is a proper word for this huge riddle.Duel with words seems not the only job for the writer Enjoyed the book, but the plot is obscure Form did matter in a creative writing, at least in this case, the author convinced me Before, I don t quite believe it German in the book is attractive to me, I believe it says something High expectation of the book may bring down the reception I agree, as the narrative perspective, adding I helps a lot I was waiting for that letter Joint description with post modern broken phrases, it feels like watching a play with fast pace rhythm Killing becomes something usual and routine, again, the exposure of the secret continent Lack of smoothness The book is hard to read, needless to say to read out loud Most of the characters in the book is not that necessary, except Alva, ok, Alex and Allen survivied till the end, they also can count None of the characters is impressive, only the narrator I , and AlvaOeuvre is mentioned a lot of time, it also feels like a metafiction Post modern way of creative writing, this way could inspire, but also, I feel my imagination is as well constrained Quantitatively speaking, the constrain writing limits the length of each chapter Rhythm is the best part The last chapter as well as several chapters before The repeating words match the drum, colorful African drum Solid based idea and geist, this cannot be ignored Tolerance of the difficulties in reading the whole book could also be considered as one aspect of reception Unlike a regular book, namely Conrad s, it is a master piece in terms of cultural narratology Vocabulary book with a main idea, to be short Women s roles in Africa should be as important as animals, no Xenophobia should be a strong feeling while I expect from him to talk about in the X Yet it is a fairly good book Zoo is another image linked to Africa The author links images, broken images together with individual alphabet, the shrinking Africa is manipulated by the significant others, by us I was thinking back and forth about how many starts I should give to this book I got to this book from Georges Perec s A Void, and they say Walter Abish is also a guru in lipogram So I tried In the beginning, it is a little bit hard to read, because of all the constrains After three or five letters, I forced myself to read the book out loud I don t know if any readers have ever tried it, but it is a bit hard, like tongue twister somehow But, as long as I started to read the book out loud, I feel the content itself The form and style of this book is really embedded in the shrinking Africa The story was grasping And even the constrains make sentence beautiful I begin to applause for the technics When I get to the descending part of letters, it gets a bit annoyed In the last chapter, I told myself, this is a four star book, I am not giving it five stars However, I decided to go back to Chapter one, with all the A, and it feels very nature, so 5 star it is Good lines But even invented countries follow a common need, as each country heads for a common memory, a common destiny, a common materiality p35Africa s mind is justifiably obstinate about its dislike of all foreign occupation of its land p37etc So, with all these sentences, I believe it did take the author quite sometime to compose this oeuvre After all, it is good.

  6. says:

    A peek on first paragraph Ages ago, Alex, Allen and Alva arrived at Antibes and Alva allowing all, allowing anyone, against Alex s admonition, against Allen s angry assertion another African amusementanyhow, as all argued, an awesome African army assembled and arduously advanced against an African anthill, assiduously annihilating ant after ant, and afterward, Alex astonishingly accuses Albert as also accepting Africa s antipodal ant annexation Albert argumentatively answers at another apartment Answers ants are Ameisen Ants are Ameisen I want. want. want

  7. says:

    Are Boyd s Congolese detectives effectively frisking grass huts in Jubba Kikuyo lovers moan, nervously, orgasmically penetrating quiff, rotating sensuously, twisting under vibrations, willfully, xenophobic, yearning, zippered Zealous Yolanda, Xavier s wanton, vicious uppercut tingling, squeezes royally Queen Philomena s open, noisome mouth like kneading junket, is happy getting fucked even daily, casually, by Alfred.

  8. says:

    It s hard to judge a book this experimental the first chapter contains only words beginning with A Ages ago an archaeologist the second chapter with A and B Both Alex and Allen are back again and so on up to Z, whereupon the letters disappear, one by one, again, and the final chapter is an A filled catalog and parody of further adventures another abuse another acceptance The end result isn t really successful as a novel certainly few readers have ever finished the book caring about or even able to remember the distinction between Alex and Allen but it can scarcely be chalked up as a failure More as poetry than as narrative, the book teems with arresting images and interesting lines An economist actually begins a book entitled Ants As Consumers There are plenty of good running gags, such as one in which countries paint their land to match their color on a map Evelyn, the Ethiopian copy editor who knows English, censors parts of the book with deleted because they are salacious or because they contain letters after E the part about a letter thief stealing letters as in epistles is especially funny in context Pygmies are a good example of how everything is shrinking And most importantly, Abish achieves something unique the sure knowledge that letters will become forbidden creates suspense unachievable in a conventional novel A major character introduced in the first Q chapter is named Queen Quat As the letters count down to Q in the second half of the book, her fate becomes precarious Surely she s going to get killed off before the end of the second Q chapter I mention this one because Abish pulls it off in a way that surprised me, but the same tension occurs again and again What will happen to the villas and the jewels and the French consul To Jacqueline To the authorial I The book is playful enough to be fun, but it never stops screaming its serious intent You know it s designed to be followed by an essay question Is it an explosion of or an indulgence in colonialist narrative motifs My questions Is Allen a play on Allan Quatermain And most importantly, are the two appearances of the forbidden word or in the first H chapter a blunder or a deeper clue, and just part of the game

  9. says:

    Walter Abish is not, and has never been, a member of Oulipo, yet he made his debut as a novelist with this Oulipo like work At first I admired his experimental prose 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 But after a while several shortcomings raise their ugly heads First of all, there isn t much of a constraint after the chapter H as soon as he is allowed to use the word I , the exotic bondage of alphabetical constraints mostly disappear Second, I agree that the plot is occasionally amusing, but wouldn t say it is particularly engaging or inventive, and IMO using the Swahili dictionary in the way that it is used in the story is of a cheap trick.What I feel about most works of constrained writing is that the author focuses purely on the technique itself that the entire work becomes a mere demonstration of that technique.The constraints ideally should serve a nobler purpose, that is to expand the horizon of the literary universe Easier said than done, I know perhaps that is why I ve yet to come across a true masterpiece of constrained writing.P.S Don Webb makes a homage to this work in the short story After Abish included in his A Spell for the Fulfillment of Desire It is written entirely using A words only, with an absurdist sci fi bent.

  10. says:

    I dreamt of this book last night, though I didn t dream of the plot I dreamt of the structure I found myself composing sentences in my sleep, and each word in the sentences began with an A, B, or a C.In Alphabetical Africa , each word in Chapter 1 begins with the letter A In Chapter 2, every word begins with an A or a B The vocabulary is expanded, letter by letter and chapter by chapter, through Z Then, the process reverses, and the book works its way back through the alphabet, letter by letter and chapter by chapter, from Z back to A During the whole novel, we see the vocabulary and sentence structure moving from very restrained and artificial to natural, and then back to the restricted formula of the first chapters.What struck me was how quickly, as the book opened up to using a wider vocabulary, the language felt natural Really, by chapter E, the story didn t feel especially constrained However, on the way backwards through the alphabet, I very quickly noticed the restricted vocabulary Maybe it s like quick changes in the weather Fifty degrees in the winter feels remarkably warm at least where I spend my winters , but the same temperature in the summer would be uncomfortably cold.

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