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The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus
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The Flame Alphabet (edition 2012)

by Ben Marcus

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3602130,197 (2.73)19
Member:LSTEPH1967
Title:The Flame Alphabet
Authors:Ben Marcus
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Collections:Unfinished
Rating:1/2
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The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus

Recently added byeswnr, Septima, Alloc, Der_Floh, cuchulainn44, private library, e-zReader, Robert.Dionne
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Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
I really wanted to like this book. It has an awesome premise: Words, spoken by children, are literally becoming toxic to adults. However, it just fell short of my expectations. I didn't like the main character's daughter. She could have died and I would have been okay with that. I also did not like the whole religious Jewish angle.

Granted, I learned a great deal of the Jewish faith and practices and that's fine but it didn't really go anywhere. It didn't add anything more to the story.

Ultimately, I felt there was so much potential with this story. The allegorical metaphor of the lethalness of words. Words themselves, if used properly (or improperly), can be more fatal than weapons. They can hurt, devastate, debilitate, and destroy. I wanted more from Ben Marcus and The Flame Alphabet that I didn't get. ( )
  Y2Ash | Apr 16, 2014 |
I really wanted to like this, because the idea behind it is fascinating, but I just didn't. It was a continual struggle with myself just to finish it - mainly because I can't stand leaving books unfinished - and I just kept hoping it would get somewhere. The author certainly has a gift for painting a picture with words - the classic English teacher advice: "Show, don't tell!" - but he doesn't seem to know how to deploy it judiciously. He establishes a situation in 10 pages or less, but then goes on for a further 60 pages with no new developments for no apparent reason. It's a shame his editor didn't cut large chunks of this extra text out, because the book would've been a lot better. ( )
1 vote akswede | Oct 14, 2013 |
I had high hopes for this book and was extremely disappointed. I did not like it at all. The story was bizarre and confusing. I couldn't tell if it was taking place in present or the past. The reason for the toxicity of speech was not explained - was it something that happened suddenly or had it been happening over time? The characters were all very unlikable. It was just not my kind of book at all. ( )
  susan.h.schofield | Oct 7, 2013 |
The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus is a book that has been on my radar for a while. The concept just sounded so cool and unique, and when I ran across a copy at a local library sale recently, I just had to have it.

And what a good choice I made.

The Flame Alphabet is a book about a virus that occurs rendering children’s speech lethal. Children’s speech sickens adults, eventually killing them. Soon, all speech is lethal, while children are immune. . . but only until they are adults themselves.

For the full review, visit Love at First Book ( )
  LoveAtFirstBook | Jun 18, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
With Marcus' knack for description, the environment is never lost on the reader. A vivid picture is painted on every gray, prison-like page. Unfortunately, the book also drowns in its own verbosity.
added by WeeklyAlibi | editWeekly Alibi, Adam Fox (Mar 22, 2012)
 
Marcus is a writer of prodigious talent, but “The Flame Alphabet” doesn’t fulfill its own promise as a hybrid of the traditional and experimental. At one point, Sam recalls the prayer hut: “Claire and I always got excited that we might hear a story instead of a sermon.” Readers with the same hope for this book may find it vexing; it’s a strange and impressive work, but in the end, it’s mostly sermon.
 
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Epigraph
Dedication
To my family ‐ Heidi, Delia, and Solomon
First words
We left on a school day, so Esther wouldn't see us.
Quotations
The secrecy surrounding the huts was justified. The true Jewish teaching is not for wide consumption, is not for groups, is not to be polluted by even a single gesture of communication. Spreading messages dilutes them. Even understanding them is a compromise. The language kills itself, expires inside its host. Language acts as an acid over its message. If you no longer care about an idea or feeling, then put it into language. That will certainly be the last of it, a fitting end. Language is another name for coffin. Bauman told us the only thing we should worry about regarding the sermons was if we understood them too well. When such a day came, then something was surely wrong.
My face felt so heavy I thought I could remove it, step on it until it composted.
Without language my inner life, if such a phrase indicates anything anymore, was merely anecdotal, hearsay.
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Marcus creates a chilling world where the speech of children is killing their parents. After being forced to leave their daughter Esther to fend for herself, Sam and Claire end up at a government lab intent on creating non-lethal speech. But when Sam discovers the truth about what's going on there, he realizes reuniting with his daughter is the only way to keep his sanity.… (more)

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