Good Morning! Today, as we end the blur of this month that was May, I want to share with you my review of May's READ THIS! novel, The Flame Alphabet, by Ben Marcus.
I want to be completely honest with you in my review and the truth is that I didn't really love this book. I didn't think it was one of the worst books ever written or anything, I believe that honor resides with another book, but I'm just not quiet sure that Marcus takes command of this story like he should. Much of the story seems confused - as if he wanted to write more about one aspect of the story than another, and then sporadically remembered that he needed to include more of another aspect. (Note: Sporadically is your Clueless throwback word of the day.)
Marcus is certainly a talented writer, but this particular subject - language as a killer beginning in an obscure (mostly fictional, as far as I can tell) sect of Judaism with anti-semitic undertones - is an uncomfortable one and unfortunately, Marcus's storytelling here seems to indicate that he is as uncomfortable telling this story as the reader is reading it. I get the feeling that Marcus is a bit taken aback with this world he's created and his personal disgust comes through too much in the writing, limiting the success of the story. While it may be his point to create this uncomfortable scenario, I find that he had too much difficulty navigating it. That being said, Marcus weaves an interesting plot, albeit one that is littered with convoluted storytelling, randomly placed cursing and a bizarre sexual plot line in certain chapters.
Did you read The Flame Alphabet? What was your take on the story? What do you feel is left of civilization when we lose the ability to communicate? How did you feel about the Jewish and anti-semitic undertones in parts of the novel? I'd love to hear your opinions!