Simon Austen is serving a life sentence for murder. Intelligent but illiterate, charming but also damaged and manipulative, he admits to what he’s done but his motives are far from clear, even to himself.??Then Simon learns to read and write. From his high security prison he begins an illicit correspondence with a series of women. The more he learns – about them and about himself – the higher the stakes become. Simon finds himself on a perilous and unpredictable journey as he stumbles towards self-knowledge and redemption.
“…a wonderful book, peculiar, intense, revealing, challenging, exhausting and above all riveting…I kept saying to myself, how could she know this?”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“Sometimes novelists go too far – and sometimes they manage to demonstrate that too far is the place they needed to go.”
“Alphabet is not just highly readable, but one of the strongest, most eloquent, most tightly constructed novels of the year…It is a measure of the quiet artistry of Alphabet that, out of material that would have been at home in the blackest of black comedies, Kathy Page has celebrated, with rare deftness, the resilience of the human heart.”
“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.”