Now that we've had a few moments to recover from the inundation of year-end lists that closed out 2014, here's a brief recap of some nice things that were said about Kathy Page's Alphabet as we were on the cusp of ringing in 2015.
- Over at Salon's "What to Read Awards: Top critics choose the best books of 2014" feature, Laurie Muchnick, a fiction editor of Kirkus Reviews and the president of the National Book Critics Circle, was asked "What book sits outside your list, but has either been overlooked or deserves more attention? Something you really liked deserving of an extra look?" Guess what she chose?:
One book that I would like to have seen get more attention is Alphabet by Kathy Page, from the small Canadian press Biblioasis. It’s a sort of Clockwork Orange update: A man convicted of murdering his girlfriend volunteers for a special program designed to reprogram criminals by making them face their crimes head-on, but he’s not prepared for the humiliation involved.
- And at The Boston Globe, the amazing Liberty Hardy of RiverRun Bookstore (who also kindly included Biblioasis as the only Canadian Press in her BookRiot "Must-Read Books from Indie Presses" round-up) chose Alphabet as her Pick of the Week for the week of December 13th.
- Moving on to The Brooklyn Paper, Jess Pane, bookseller at one of our most beloved Indies, Greenlight Bookstore, championed Alphabet as her favourite book of the year:
This is my favorite book of the year. Kathy Page puts you inside the head of Simon. He’s in jail and doesn’t understand his rage. He’s murdered his girlfriend. He learns the alphabet and begins writing anonymous letters to women. He pretends to be someone else — someone who loves art — until someone figures him out and asks him for the truth, and it all unravels. This book is about identity, the prison system, and how to love yourself when you’ve been beaten down.- And last but not least, if you still have a moment to spare, I swear you'll not regret dropping in at The Rumpus for Leland Cheuk's fantastic and appreciative dual review of Alphabet and Paradise and Elsewhere. Here's a taste:
Studies have shown that reading literary fiction increases a reader’s ability to empathize. In her first books to be published in the U.S., Giller Prize-nominated British author Kathy Page puts that theory to a rigorous test. Would you like to spend 300 pages in the mind of a murderer? How about fourteen stories replete with the vengeful whispers from those vanquished by the injustices of globalization? In both the novel Alphabet and the story collection Paradise and Elsewhere, Page demonstrates that she is a master provocateur, unafraid to ask unpleasant questions about contemporary society...