Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Flame Alphabet

by Ben Marcus

I was really blown away by this book; it's like nothing else I've read. It's like a Twilight Zone episode come to life in full color.

Marcus's writing style is quick, sharp, and unforgiving. It's exceptional and addictive. There is a certain element of coldness to the narration, but it's easy to understand why, before long. 

In the world of this novel, language is toxic. Just the sound of a loved one's name can send you into convulsions. Even words in print are poison. The central character, Sam, and his wife Claire are slowly breaking down, and the source of the toxicity lives under their very own roof. Children, immune to the language toxicity, spew the poison readily.

The premise of this novel is so unique and so compelling. I will say, I did get bogged down after 50 pages or so with his pseudo-technical description and the religion aspect. At times, the environment and the contraptions were difficult for me to visualize (it reminded me a little if Michael Crichton), but that's no fault of the prose.

I highly recommend reading The Flame Alphabet. It is original and brutal and unforgettable. I really admire this book and its author.

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