Friday, September 12, 2014

Publishers Weekly Praises Kathy Page's Alphabet

Kathy Page's Alphabet, one of our new reprint titles (though a first publication south of the 49th) comes in for some praise -  and our second starred review for the book in the US -- from Publisher's Weekly

Page’s gritty and illuminating sixth novel, originally published in 2004, and shortlisted for Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Awards in 2005, follows Simon Austen, a convicted murderer, through a series of inner triumphs and small victories as he makes his way through the British penal system. Fascinating from the first page, readers watch Austen as he learns how to read, becomes a letter writer for his fellow inmates, and “gets into education, big time,” eventually earning all his high school credits. He decides to address the issue of his inability to relate to women, on his own at first, by corresponding with various women. His description, in one of those letters, of the events that lead him to strangle his girlfriend sends him into a tailspin as he begins to face the underlying reasons behind the impulsive violent act that has defined his life. He is sent to an intensive therapeutic program that forces him to face many of his most serious issues. The journey Austen makes is primarily an inner one, a slow peeling back of the layers of protection he uses to shut everyone out, including himself. As he starts to let people in, in a series of increasingly authentic interactions, we bear witness to his slow and inspiring transformation.

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