Comments and Reviews

by mobius on March 13, 2010

”A complex book, and splendidly written, Alphabet is an intensely compelling reading experience that speaks to the power of words and the significance of language in all its dangerous subtleties.” Marc Horton, The Edmonton Journal

“Kathy Page knows that the things we can’t understand are often the things that terrify us the most. In her dark and lovely seventh novel, she takes us places we may not want to go…” Cherie Thiessen, January Magazine Nov 15 2005

“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.” Pam Burkette, Times Colonist, Nov 13 2005

“It’s not hard to guess what got Page onto the GG shortlist: sheer chutzpah. ” Joel Yanofsky, the Weekend Post, Nov 12 2005

“Alphabet is a stunning tour de force. I have rarely encountered a novel so compelling, so disturbing, so ultimately satisfying as this new work by Kathy Page.” WordWorks.

“Alphabet is not just highly readable, but one of the strongest, most eloquent, most tightly constructed novels of the year….  Out of material that would have been at home in the blackest of black comedies she has fashioned a fable about redemptive love.  She has celebrated, with rare deftness, the resilience of the human heart. “ Sunday Telegraph, UK.

“One of the most complex characters I’ve ever met in a novel. His attempt to win redemption is totally engrossing.” Victoria Times Colonist.

“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 brilliantly captures the brutality of prison life.” Scotland on Sunday.

“Late in this sharp and splendid novel, Kathy Page has her incarcerated protagonist think: “It’s a story you could tell… if you had someone to tell it to.” And that – an inability to communicate, to find an outlet –  is what Page seems to be telling us keeps Simon from rehabilitating himself…. The story is told almost entirely form Simon’s point of view; it is terse, rhythmic and, dare I say it, almost effortlessly masculine. Her greatest achievement is Simon himself. He knows there is no justification for his crime and even as he comes to understand the reasons for his offence, he knows he is guilty. Page looks at him firmly, objectively, compassionately.” Sunday Telegraph, UK.

“It is only because Page is such an accomplished writer that I forced myself to care, and hurried to return to the book when I’d been forced to put it down… 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.

“Intensely compelling.” Edmonton Journal.

“Alphabet is a hopeful story, even though its subject, Simon Austen is a disturbed, inarticulate, illiterate murderer who is spending his life in a British Prison…. Simon has no miraculous breakthroughs; he doesn’t even get out of jail. But the baby steps he takes towards understanding himself give both him and the reader hope. Page’s writing is tight…her depiction of prison life is believable and enthralling.” GEIST, Canada.

“The strength of Alphabet is that it examines the complexity of providing answers.”  Times Literary Supplement, UK.

“Her understanding of the prisoner’s frustration, loneliness and anxiety is exceptionally portrayed… a profound insight into the workings of the prison system as well as the minds of the prisoners… a truly gripping novel.” Sunday Business Post, Ireland.
“I found this a truly compelling read, right to the last page. Whatever you think of Simon and his crime the issues of prison, punishment and redemption make this book an excellent book group choice.” New Books Magazine, UK.

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