The Flame Alphabet

The Flame Alphabet

Paperback Vintage Contemporaries

By (author) Ben Marcus

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  • Publisher: Random House Inc
  • Format: Paperback | 289 pages
  • Dimensions: 132mm x 202mm x 20mm | 499g
  • Publication date: 13 November 2012
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 030773997X
  • ISBN 13: 9780307739971
  • Sales rank: 220,745

Product description

In "The Flame Alphabet," the most maniacally gifted writer of our generation delivers a novel about how far we will go in order to protect our loved ones. The sound of children's speech has become lethal. In the park, adults wither beneath the powerful screams of their offspring. For young parents Sam and Claire, it seems their only means of survival is to flee from their daughter, Esther. But they find it isn't so easy to leave someone you love, even as they waste away from her malevolent speech. On the eve of their departure, Claire mysteriously disappears, and Sam, determined to find a cure for this new toxic language, presses on alone into a foreign world to try to save his family.

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Author information

BEN MARCUS is the author of three books of fiction: "Notable American Women," "The Father Costume," and "The Age of Wire and String, " and he is the editor of "The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories." His stories have appeared in "Harper's Magazine, The New Yorker, ""The Paris Review, ""McSweeney's, ""Tin House, "and "Conjunctions. "He is the recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction, and awards from the Creative Capital Foundation and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in New York City and Maine.

Review quote

"Marcus is a writer of prodigious talent . . . Formally inventive, dark and dryly comic . . . ["The Flame Alphabet"] reads like a dream." --J. Robert Lennon, "The New York Times Book Review" " " "To people who just want to read a good yarn and who think Ben Marcus is too weird for them, I'd say: Think again . . . The novel can operate on multiple registers: as metaphor, sociology, conventional thriller, and, at bottom, discourse on parenthood and family that is freakishly sad and incredibly good." --Fiona Maazel, "Book Forum " "There's something profound about Marcus's exploration of the power of language and the life-affirming nature of human breathing. He turns both these normally positive ideas on their heads, but that only makes the sound of a loved-one's voice, the feel of a child's breath against the skin, seem that much more precious." --Tyrone Beason, "The Seattle Times" " " "In the guise of a horror novel (albeit one written by a supremely intelligent literary novelist), Marcus has delivered a subtle meditation on the necessity as well as the drawbacks of human communication . . . in searing, sometimes hallucinatory prose." --Doug Childers, "Richmond Times-Dispatch" "An apocalyptic nightmare. Its vision is eerie, droll and heartbreaking, both lavishly written and haunting to behold. Language may be killing off the characters that Marcus invented, but his use of language could hardly be more vibrant." --Joan Silverman, "Portland Press Herald" "Incandescent . . . [The] apocalyptical plot serves as a vehicle for Marcus' blazing metaphysical insights inquiry into expression, meaning, self, love, and civilization." --Donna Seaman, "Booklist" (starred review) "Language kills in Marcus's audacious new work of fiction, a richly allusive look at a world transformed by a new form of illness . . . Biblical in its Old Testament sense of wrath, Marcus's novel twists America's quotidian existence into someth