Friday, 12 December 2008

Christian Bok - Eunoia (Canongate 2008)

This, again on the delectable Canongate, short read is a baffling dissection of the English language and though appears on paper a tough sell, is a rewarding celebration of the softer sides of our lives... yes, our 'vowels' and their impact. Despite its outward appearance and beguiling style, there is a story buried deep in the prose, and that story involves an intimate look at each vowel and how it mutates and shape-shifts within each word it commands.

'Whenever Helen needs effervescent refreshments, she tells her expert brewer: 'brew me the best beer ever brewed'

You see, the trick is, each chapter will only contain words with the specific dedicated vowel of its choosing. It's infuriating and maddening but brilliant and ambitious at the same time. Though it lacks a narrative centre to hook readers in, once you get used to the style, it is a rewarding read full of texture and conjecture on the courtly A, elegaic E, lyrical I, jocular O and obscene U. This is a triumphant and awe-inspiring piece of playful ambitious fiction, perfect for scrabble-freaks and boggle-maniacs.

Canongate RULE

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