Alphabet: Book summary and reviews of Alphabet by Kathy Page

Alphabet

by Kathy Page

Alphabet by Kathy Page X
Alphabet by Kathy Page
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published in USA  Oct 2014
    304 pages
    Genre: Novels

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

Simon Austen has the names people have called him tattooed all over his body. Dumb Cunt. Waste of Space. A Threat to Women. Murderer. Simon Austen has strangled his girlfriend. For the next thirteen years, Simon Austen will be serving life.

Barely out of his teens, his past a grim assembly of foster homes, Simon is cagey, reserved, and highly intelligent. He's been told he has trouble relating to women. But what kind of woman would want to relate to him? Determined to resolve his issues on his own terms, and at great personal risk, Simon begins writing illicit letters to women under assumed identities. And though short-lived, his letter-writing triggers a terrifying process of self-reconstruction. "Who is Simon Austen," he is forced to ask, and "who do his psychiatrists want him to become?" A jolting portrait of modern prison regimes, Alphabet is the story of a man's uncertain and often-harrowing journey towards rehabilitation.

Read a Sample

Click to the right or left of the sample to turn the page.
(If no book jacket appears in a few seconds, then we don't have an excerpt of this book or your browser is unable to display it)

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. This powerful novel is simply an epiphany." - Kirkus

"Starred Review. 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." - Publishers Weekly

"Offering an emotional read without sentimentality or easy, pat answers, Page (The Find ) missteps only in the occasional scenes showing Simon's counselors talking about him and analyzing his case, which removes us from the character's limited but compelling perspective." - Library Journal

"Sometimes novelists go too far – and sometimes they manage to demonstrate that too far is the place they needed to go." - Time Out (UK)

"Page captures the oppressiveness of the closed institution, the violence that always seethes beneath the surface … compelling … Page lifts the novel out of its didactic casing." - Times Literary Supplement (UK)

"Alphabet is not just highly readable, but one of the strongest, most eloquent, most tightly constructed novels of the year." - Sunday Telegraph, UK

"Page throws mixed-up hope into a world where only fantasies and delusions dare to grow… when I got to the end of Alphabet, I found myself longing for more." - Globe and Mail (Canada)

"Alphabet is a hopeful story, even though its subject, Simon Austen is a disturbed, inarticulate, illiterate murderer… Page's writing is tight…her depiction of prison life is believable and enthralling." - GEIST (Canada)

"A complex book, and splendidly written, Alphabet is an intensely compelling reading experience." - Edmonton Journal (Canada)

"Simon is real. Simon gets under your skin. You'll keep reading Alphabet because you'll want to understand how Simon got to Z from A… His attempt to win redemption is totally engrossing." - Times Colonist (Canada)

"It's not hard to guess what got Page onto the GG shortlist: sheer chutzpah." - The Weekend Post (Canada)

"Page brilliantly captures the brutality of prison life." - Scotland on Sunday (UK)

The information about Alphabet shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Author Information

Kathy Page

Kathy Page is the author of seven novels, including The Story of My Face (longlisted for the Orange Prize in 2002), and The Find (shorlisted for the ReLit Award in 2011), as well as many short stories, previously collected in As In Music and Paradise & Elsewhere (Biblioasis 2013). She recently co-edited In the Flesh (2012), a collection of personal essays about the human body, and has written for television and radio. Born in the UK, Kathy has lived on Salt Spring Island since 2001.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more novels...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Fake Like Me
    Fake Like Me
    by Barbara Bourland
    After years of trying to make it as a painter in New York City, the unnamed narrator of Fake Like Me...
  • Book Jacket: Hungry
    Hungry
    by Jeff Gordinier
    Noma, René Redzepi's restaurant in Copenhagen, Denmark, has widely been considered among the ...
  • Book Jacket: With the Fire on High
    With the Fire on High
    by Elizabeth Acevedo
    From Like Water for Chocolate to Ratatouille, writers have recognized the power ...
  • Book Jacket: Lanny
    Lanny
    by Max Porter
    At once beautifully poignant and hauntingly grotesque, Max Porter's Lanny is like an unexpected ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Beirut Hellfire Society
    by Rawi Hage

    A searing and visionary novel set in 1970s Beirut that asks what it means to live through war.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club
Book Jacket
The Guest Book
by Sarah Blake

"An American epic in the truest sense…"
Entertainment Weekly

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win In the Full Light of the Sun

New from Clare Clark!

"Evocative prose and excellent pacing make this fine historical a must-read for art history buffs."
- Publishers Weekly

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A A A Day K T D A

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.