The Flame Alphabet
A terrible epidemic has struck the country and the sound of children’s speech has become lethal. Radio transmissions from strange sources indicate that peopl...more
The Jewish subplot, if...more
John 1:1 might be a mythological fabrication, but in the end there will be the word, some word and then the end. Lights out humanity. Some hateful word, or rhetoric, or bottom line on a profit report, or words about imaginary superiority, (mis)perceived threats, words from fictional gods passed down through books filled with words, words that poison and kill. People die ev...more
I’m not sure how to write this review sans spoilers, so here’s the spoiler-free version:
This book is one of the most original, intriguing novels I’ve ever read and if one more person gives it 1 lousy star I will find them, pin them to the ground and scream in their face until they keel over convulsing from the crushing!! Of course I'm over 18, so that means I would probably die too, but it would be worth it!!
The Flame Alphabet.
Man, what a great concept! Read on for the actual review (w...more
No children were harmed in the production of this review.
One for the apedotropic, or apaedotropic, if you prefer. One for those of you who, like me, think children should be raised on collective farms in Montana and returned some time after they’ve reached the Age of Consent or Voting Age (whichever is greater), have learned at least ONE manner, have had their vocal chords nicked, understand that ‘cute’ isn’t enough, shun driving with appliances and/or food in both hands, and are otherwise well...more
sound abatement fabrics
Dräger Aerotest breathing kit
copper powder for phonic salting
bootful of felt
Ben Marcus wrote an outstandingly cerebral, uncomfortable, and moving novel with The Flame Alphabet—factor in that chromatically angular cover, of whose fiery upthrust I simply cannot tire of beholding, and it approaches that rare point of fictive perfection. So when I survey its remarkably low average rating, the legion of single and double stars ranged against it, I'm left at a loss for an explanation. GR friend Knig calls it Jewish Sci-F...more
by J.G. Ballard
They had now reached an area where the desert gave way to salt dunes and then to a substantial expanse of water that Travis tentatively identified as the Dead Sea. His wife at first disagreed, but the Jeep contained no maps, and her knowledge of the local geography was even less certain than his; given a lack of alternate hypotheses, she accepted the label he had given it. The bitter, salty, undrinkable quality of the water was at least consistent w...more
Impossible to gestate without deeper knowledge of Judaic doctrine: an author who turns the tableson a secular readership at large (you don't know judeism? well too bad) and finds purchase in judeo-mysticism: unapologetically and dispassionately, re-asserting with full force the tenor of a power...more
The Flame Alp...more
Spreading messages dilutes them. Even understanding them is a compromise. The language kills itself, expires inside its host. Language act...more
amongst my group of friends this phrase also reoccurs, albeit, in a slightly different context: working out latent homosexuality married to not-as-latent self-loathing jeweyness, we frequently urge the other to 'pound my jew-hole' 'ra...more
I can't promise that you'll be able to detect my usual Krok Zero style, if I even have such a thing, but I'd like to think it's in there. Check it out!
This is an absolute fucking masterpiece and I loved every single page of it.
THE LONG VERSION
This book is gloriously written and incredibly dark - think Saramago's Blindness without the endless sentences, or Pontypool Changes Everything with a more linear narrative. The apocalyptic story elements alone would have made for a fulfilling novel, but here Marcus also explores issues of religion and religious persecution, family relationships, self-image, personal inaction, guilt and h...more
The big let down of this book is it doesn't deliver on its promises. The exciting premise of Flame Alphabet is that the voices of children act as toxin to adults. Not long into the story we find out the...more
But a great plot device does not a great novel make. Ben Marcus is clearly a writer of no little talent, but this book, which does have a few flashes of brilliance, is rather difficult to digest.
To begin, the novel g...more
the premise -- children's speech is actually killing their parents -- is a great one. but the book did NOT deliver.
as i mentioned when i was only 50 or so pages into this book..i think the author was trying too hard. he ended up writing a pretentious...more
The narrator had most of the same character defects. Maybe he enjoyed being a dick less, but he was a dick. He was also a crappy father, who was unable to discipline any sort of respect or awareness into his child even before the epidemic. And an adulterer who cheated on his wife even after he found out she was still alive....more
I love the language. Ben Marcus is quite the master of linguistically-centered experimental novel and The Flame Alphabet proves to be just that. Chapter 2, alone, is a particularly awe-inspiring example of beautiful weeping language.
There's some sort of narrative or at least the reader is led to believe in the first couple chapters but soon after progressing past the first handful, and especially when a key character, Murphy, enters our sights, the narrative devolve...more
Ben Marcus proposes in The Flame Alphabet, that language is an allergen. That it is a type of pollution and that it is sickening, literally. I felt as though Marcus was trying to come to a clearer understanding o...more
The Flame Alphabet never lived beyond that opening premise, however. Suffering structurally from presenting a contagion narrative that never gave into it and, instead, presented a stationary, limited cast of what were metaphoric questions for the narrator, Marcus never moves beyond hi...more
|Thoughts, ideas, like or dislike, debates, need to discuss this book||8||79||Jul 23, 2013 05:18AM|
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