The Flame Alphabet picked by Amazon as a best book of January

1.9.2012

Amazon Best Books of the Month, January 2012:

From the dark, curious imagination of Ben Marcus comes another brain melter of a novel. The Flame Alphabet has a pandemic premise–children are slowly killing their parents by speaking–and only gets stranger and smarter from there. When Sam leaves his decaying family behind to seek a cure for his daughter’s lethal condition, he winds up in a government think tank that casually eliminates human subjects in its quest for an antidote. Stories don’t get much more horrifying than this, but Marcus’s absorbing, conversational style makes his twisted bildungsroman as difficult to put down as it is to accept. In an unimaginable situation, Sam takes the only steps that seem possible: He submits, he works, he dreams of his wife and child. This cruel, insightful meditation on societal dysfunction and individual resilience comes from a mind that must be appreciated, even if you find yourself relieved that it’s not your own. —Mia Lipman

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