A Valentine’s Day Weekly Geeks and Review

This week’s prompt involves one of my favorite holidays of the year, Valentine’s Day. To celebrate bloggers can write about anything related to love. When I first read this prompt, I instantly thought of one of my favorite love stories ever – CS Richardson’s The End of the Alphabet. I ended up rereading the novella yesterday so I can write about it from a fresh perspective.

I first read The End of the Alphabet a few years ago. I can’t remember what initially made me pick the book up but ever since the first time I read it, I’ve been rereading it almost every year.

It’s the story of Ambrose Zephyr, a man who’s living this ordinary life when he finds out that he’s sick and has less than a month to live. It sounds sad and the book is sad in some parts but this is a book more about living than dying. Given the bad news about his health, Ambrose decides that he wants to spend the last month of his living traveling with his wife Zappora “Zipper” Ashkenazi.

The alphabet that the title talks about is the alphabetical list that Ambrose makes of all the places he wants to travel to. From Amsterdam to Florence, Hafifa to Osaka, there are so many places that Ambrose wants to see. But if the disease is as fast as the doctors say, the pair might not make it to the last place of the list.

I love that this story is sparse. Richardson gives readers just enough information about the characters and their lives without weighing the story down with detail. Here’s one of my favorite passages in the book when Ambrose and Zipper meet for a second time:

Ambrose would later admit to a nagging sensation of having seen this Ms. Ashkenazi before. How he could not place her, but that her handshake felt small, warm, a touch damp. How he could not take his eyes off her. And how, more than once, he had narrowed his gaze to watch her, topless, eating tapas on a beach in Spain. She might have been twenty, maybe twenty-one years old. It was hard to see clearly, Ambrose would explain, what with the sun and the heat and the glare off the sea.

Zipper had an equally odd feeling throughout the meeting. She thought, but couldn’t be sure, that she knew the slightly handsome man in the corner who said nothing. (What she never mentioned to anyone was the pleasant hum she felt as Ambrose spent the meeting trying not to glance at her breasts. Or that she found his periodic squint boyishly charming.)

The End of the Alphabet is a small yet satisfying read.

The End of the Alphabet

CS Richardson

Pub. Year: 2007

120 pages

Publisher: Doubleday

Are there any love stories that you love to read over and over again?


About Vasilly

Mother, daughter, sister, college student, bookworm, lover of chocolate and coffee.
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6 Responses to A Valentine’s Day Weekly Geeks and Review

  1. Wallace says:

    I absolutely LOVE this book and find that almost no one knows about it! I adore this story, so glad to know that you do too.

  2. Wow! That story does sound really good! I will have to look it up.
    I wonder if they have it for nook?

  3. Trish says:

    A book you read every year? That by itself just seems incredibly romantic to me. I’d love to have a book I loved so much that I read it every year.

    I haven’t heard of this one, but I’m intrigued!!

  4. zibilee says:

    I haven’t heard a lot about this book, but it does sound rather interesting. Although ostensibly it’s a little sad, I think that I would like this one very much and will have to check it out. Thanks for the great review!

  5. This is a new title for me (as it seems, it is for everyone else!) but it looks really interesting. I love stories where life is measured by more than numbers and dollar signs and professional success…alphabet locations seem like a good place to start…;O)

  6. bookgazing says:

    That does sound sweet and I like the idea of a book you’d read every year as a tradition.

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