Title: The End of the Alphabet
Author: CS Richardson
Published: 2007; Pages: 119
In Short: Ambrose Zephyr, a middle aged ad man, learns that he only has 30 days to live. Maybe more, maybe less. In an effort to make the most of his remaining days, he and his wife Zipper travel to different cities based on the letters of the alphabet.
Why I read it: The End of the Alphabet was selected for my work book club. I hadn’t heard of it before but it has a pretty cover and is short! Me likey.
Thoughts in General: I was a little nervous when I started this book because I had heard some negative comments from coworkers who finished it before I did. One evening I happened to have some time to myself so I headed to Starbucks and sat down with the little book. I devoured a third of it in one sitting, immediately falling in love with Ambrose and Zipper and their quirky story. The story moves back and forth between the present—with Ambrose learning of his sudden illness—and the past including memories of childhood and Ambrose and Zipper’s meeting and early romance.
This is a simple book, which I guess is to be expected with the length, but it packed so much emotion and feeling into every page. I felt the unspoken pain of Zipper as she prepared for her husband’s death, I felt the inability of Ambrose to voice his emotions and fears. I felt their love and their frustrations and their desire and sorrow. But not only was it an emotional read but it was also a stimulating one as well. Richardson has such a way with descriptions and being able to communicate the subjects that aren’t easy to convey and I know that I could read this little book again and glean so much more from every flashback, every conversation, every breakdown.
Bottom Line: I recommend this little book, but I feel like I must do so with some reservations. The length was too short—there was so much more I wanted to know and understand by the end of the novel. But on the other hand I think it’s one of those that is meant to exist mostly in your own imagination. Leaving just enough blanks for you to fill them in how you wish. Most of our bookclub members enjoyed the book and felt passionate about the characters and writing like I did. If you read this one I hope you enjoy it—it packs a big punch for a short 120 pages.
Have you read this one?
Are you off-put by short novellas? Do you feel they can be as effective as longer books?