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The End of the Alphabet: 07/27/11

cover art

The End of the Alphabet by CS Richardson has been on my wishlist since the book first debuted in 2007. A copy of the beautifully designed slim volume appeared at our local BookCrossing meeting and I was immediately smitten with it. As I have such a huge to be read pile, I dutifully waited until everyone else in the group who wanted a chance to read it, had. Waiting took three years but it was well worth it.

Ambrose Zephyr and Zappora "Zipper" Ashkenazi have a good and happy life together. All that comes crashing down when Ambrose is diagnosed with a terminal disease and has a month to live. He decides to visit his way through the alphabet, one city at a time.

Of course such a goal with an advanced (but unstated) illness makes the whole A to Z thing quixotic. But that's part of its bittersweet charm. This isn't a children's alphabet book so there's no unspoken guarantee that Ambrose will make it to the end. I knew that from the very beginning and yet I kept hoping that he'd prove me wrong.

The End of the Alphabet is one of those small but powerful books, memorable for its simplicity of story telling and depth of emotions. It's there with books like The Little Prince and The Doorbells of Florence (review coming).

Four stars.

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