The Dangers of Proximal Alphabets by Kathleen Alcott

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Synopsis

An extraordinary debut novel that challenges the definition of family and explores the intricate ties that bind us together

Ida grew up with Jackson and James—where there was “I” there was a “J.” She can’t recall a time when she didn’t have them around, whether in their early days camping out in the boys’ room decorated with circus scenes or later drinking on rooftops as teenagers. While the world outside saw them as neighbors and friends, to each other the three formed a family unit—two brothers and a sister—not drawn from blood, but drawn from a deep need to fill a void in their single parent households. Theirs was a relationship of communication without speaking, of understanding without judgment, of intimacy without rules and limits.

But as the three of them mature and emotions become more complex, Ida and Jackson find themselves more than just siblings. When Jackson’s somnambulism produces violent outbursts and James is hospitalized, Ida is paralyzed by the events that threaten to shatter her family and put it beyond her reach. Kathleen Alcott’s striking debut, The Dangers of Proximal Alphabets, is an emotional, deeply layered love story that explores the dynamics of family when it defies bloodlines and societal conventions.
 

About Kathleen Alcott

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Born and raised in Northern California, Kathleen Alcott studied in Southern California, lived in San Francisco, and presently resides in Brooklyn. Her work appears in American Short Fiction; Slice; Explosion Proof; The Rumpus, Rumpus Women Vol. 1, an anthology of personal essays; and elsewhere. She is currently at work on her second novel. Please visit her at www.kathleenalcott.com
 
Published September 11, 2012 by Other Press. 208 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Dangers of Proximal Alphabets

Kirkus Reviews

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When Jackson strikes Ida in his sleep, she buys art supplies to divert his actions, and Jackson begins to produce amazing artwork—a feat that he can only accomplish while in a sleeping state.

Aug 02 2012 | Read Full Review of The Dangers of Proximal Alpha...

Publishers Weekly

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Jackson calls Ida “I”;

Jul 16 2012 | Read Full Review of The Dangers of Proximal Alpha...

Book Reporter

One day, the two find they’ve lied to themselves for so long it doesn’t even frighten Ida anymore when Jackson begins wandering into ever-more-frequently violent states of somnambulistic crimes, verging on the demonic.

Oct 22 2012 | Read Full Review of The Dangers of Proximal Alpha...

The Boston Globe

The figurative incest between Ida and Jackson becomes almost literal when their parents — Ida’s father and Jackson and James’s mother — move in together and all but marry.

Sep 21 2012 | Read Full Review of The Dangers of Proximal Alpha...

City Book Review

As Ida, James, and Jackson grow up, however, their intimate friendship is challenged by complicated feelings between Ida and Jackson, who form their own romantic relationship that leaves James out.

Oct 16 2012 | Read Full Review of The Dangers of Proximal Alpha...

The Coffin Factory

‘make-believe’ is a game children play but adults wrote the rules to.” Or “It’s ridiculous the way all three of us retained that childhood bond of keeping secrets from the adults, no matter the cost, insisted on naming it us versus them when it had become so clearly us verses us, when we as a un...

Nov 08 2012 | Read Full Review of The Dangers of Proximal Alpha...

Curtis Brown

This process can take a few minutes, please bear with us This process can take a few minutes, please bear with us By Claire Bidwell Smith, author of The Rules of Inheritance Six Curtis Brown clients for your discovery Curtis Brown Group Li...

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Curtis Brown

This process can take a few minutes, please bear with us This process can take a few minutes, please bear with us Six Curtis Brown clients for your discovery Curtis Brown Group Limited.

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Curtis Brown

This stunning debut novel portrays the lives of two somnambulist brothers and their neighbor, Ida, who develop a strong attachment and form an unconventional family structure that is tested and stretched past its boundaries as they grow into adulthood.

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