The End of the Alphabet – CS Richardson
January 22, 2010 § 11 Comments
When his father asked why A wasn’t apple or B wasn’t bird or C wasn’t cat, young Ambrose explained that things didn’t always have to be the way you’d expect.
The End of the Alphabet is a really small book, about the size of a small moleskin notebook, and only 120 pages long. It says it’s ‘a novel’, though I’m rather tempted to think of it as a novella, considering how short the story is.
Everything there is to know about the book can be found on the front flap. Alphabet tells the story of a man, Ambrose, who finds out that he only has more or less 30 days left to live. Having always been rather obsessive about the alphabet, Ambrose decides that he wants to visit all his favourite places, going from A to Z. Of course, he brings his wife, Zipper, along.
The writing didn’t quite come together for me. There were moments when I felt I could connect, but more often than not, the writing left me wanting a lot more than it had to offer. Nor did I feel much love for the characters. When Ambrose died, it felt like *just another thing* in the story. There were no strong feelings attached, not emotions, no sentimentality. It just happened.
Did they manage to tour all 26 places, corresponding to each letter of the alphabet? No. Towards the end, Ambrose was much too sick to go travelling, and they merely talked about the places they might have gone. Some places held a little more memories for the both of them, and mostly these were the chapters that were slightly more redeeming.
The premise was promising. And it was a quick read. But just not quite for me.