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For a book detailing the slow and macabre proliferation of disease and dissolution of language, this reads like a methodical and ominously gorgeous work of prose. It wasn't without its flaws, but still earned its 5 stars (maybe 4.5) through its descriptions, analyses of familial relationships and religion, and execution of a great concept without going Hollywood Thriller. I keep turning parts of it over in my head and continue to draw out more about culture, spirituality, and of course language itself.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
What disappointed you about The Flame Alphabet?
I thought the premise was interesting. The early chapters were promising, but as the story progresses it all sinks into a sludge of alienation that would probably even bum Kafka out. Lots of dreary descriptions of the sick getting sicker but not dying too fast and civilization crumbling but not quite coming to an end. The protagonist struggles to make sense of it all, but gets nowhere as he and his family literally and figuratively fall apart. Nearly all the characters stop speaking to each other, per the major plot point of the novel, so the reader is mostly left with the protagonist's/narrator's lengthy ruminations about existing in a world in which language - written or spoken - is deadly poison (irony?). In the end, I didn't care about anyone or anything in the novel. I simply felt, alienated. Was that Marcus's goal?
What do you think your next listen will be?
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?
There are a few moments of gallows humor in the novel that Andy Paris handles well. At these moments, the text gives him an opportunity to use his voice to express the narrator's bitter frustration. This element might be the only thing that buoyed me through the story.
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
I was disappointed that such a promising concept could be rendered as such a dud.
Any additional comments?
If you are depressed when you start reading this book, it will only make you more depressed.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful