Sunday, June 3, 2012

Book 5: The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus

I finished this book a while ago and I’m still not sure what to say about it.  I saw it on a 2012 must read list and the premise seemed interesting, which the book did end up being.  But, it was just so odd that I haven’t been able to really figure out what the hell happened, let alone whether or not I liked it.

The story begins in Wisconsin with Sam and his wife Claire leaving their home and their daughter, Ester.  A mysterious disease that causes children’s speech to become lethal has crippled the adult population and it eventually leads to forced evacuations.  Claire has been suffering worse than Sam from the start, with no help from Ester who revels in the misery of the adults around her.  Sam recounts for any future readers the start of the epidemic and his search for a cure after he is forced to leave his home. 

The search for the source of the disease is the major concern for another pushy and furtive character, Murphy, who begins following then trying to befriend Sam in an attempt to get to the truth.  Murphy is convinced that the Jews are the reason that this is happening and knows that Sam is a “forest Jew.”  The way Judaism is practiced in this book is incredibly odd and hard to explain, so I’m no even getting into that.

Again, I really don’t now what to say about this book.  It was weird, disturbing, repulsive, and I couldn’t stop reading it.  I can’t say that I enjoyed it, but at the same time I didn’t hate it.  What I really want is someone to explain to me what happened because four months later, I still have no idea.  

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