Book rating: 04 Hardback

By (author) Christian Bok

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  • Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
  • Format: Hardback | 112 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 200mm x 16mm | 181g
  • Publication date: 6 November 2008
  • Publication City/Country: Edinburgh
  • ISBN 10: 1847672396
  • ISBN 13: 9781847672391
  • Edition statement: Main
  • Sales rank: 139,834

Product description

'Eunoia', which means 'beautiful thinking', is the shortest word in the English language to contain all five vowels. This book also contains them all, but never at the same time. Each of Eunoia's five chapters is univocalic: that is, each chapter uses only one vowel. A triumphant feat, seven years in the making, this uncanny work of avant-garde literature is one of the most surprising and awe-inspiring books of the year. A challenging feat of composition and technical skill, Bok has worked this into a series of compelling narratives and rhythms. Writing is inhibiting. Sighing, I sit, scribbling in ink this pidgin script. I sing with nihilistic witticism, disciplining signs with trifling gimmicks - impish hijinks which highlight stick sigils. Isn't it glib? Isn't it chic?

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Author information

Christian Bok began writing in his early twenties, while earning his B.A. and M.A. degrees at Carleton University. He returned to Toronto in the early 1990s to study for a Ph.D. in English literature at York University. Crystallography, Bok's highly acclaimed poetry and prose book published in 1994.

Customer reviews

By Steve Gump 27 Aug 2010 4

Brilliant. The work is a "univocal lipogram, in which each chapter restricts itself to the use of a single vowel" (103). (Eunoia, by the way, is the shortest word in English to contain all five vowels; the word literally means "beautiful thinking.") As one can imagine, telling a story that makes any semblance of sense while limiting oneself to a single vowel is no easy feat: the author spent seven years in the process! Chapter "E" is a retelling of the Iliad. I've requested another book from the library out of curiosity: George Perec's *Void,* translated from the French by Gilbert Adair. Neither the French original nor the English translation employ the letter "e"!

Review quote

"* 'Extraordinary, outrageous, irresistible - a must for verbivores.' - Gyles Brandreth * 'Amazing... impressive... It's beautiful, its funny and it's moving.' - Globe and Mail"