Excerpt: The essential premise of the breathtaking new novel by Ben Marcus is this: language is toxic. The very same language device—mere words—can’t do justice to a review of the incredible and heartbreaking The Flame Alphabet.
As the book opens, the narrator Samuel, and his wife Claire, are getting ready to forever leave their home in a small town in upstate New York. They are to leave their teen daughter Esther behind for it is her speech that is slowly killing Sam and Claire. Esther will be taken care of in a special quarantine with other children, they are promised. It is a sign of just how bad things have gotten in the bleak landscape that hundreds upon hundreds of families are split asunder this way, choosing to slink away from their toxic children, trusting that the authorities will know best what to do with their most precious assets.
The rest of the review is here.
Review courtesy of ARC from Knopf.