The End of the Alphabet

C. S. Richardson, Author . Doubleday $16.95 (119p) ISBN 978-0-385-52255-7

An abrupt death sentence given to a 50-year-old London ad exec forces an uneasy deliverance in Richardson's smartly setup, poignant tale. Given less than a month to live, Ambrose Zephyr, alphabet-obsessed since childhood, decides to spend out his last days traveling around the globe from A to Z. Ambrose and his wife, Zappora Ashkenazi (the couple is childless), begin in Amsterdam, viewing art by Velázquez and Rembrandt that has been significant to them in their loving marriage, and now looks wholly transformed. The two move between the sweet memories of past love and an unreal present, from Berlin to Chartres, the Great Pyramids of Khufu to Istanbul; when Ambrose begins to falter and they return home to their Kensington terrace flat. Reality and good manners demand that they inform their respective employers and friends of Ambrose's condition, while Zappora, a fashion editor attempting to keep a journal of the couple's last moments together, endures until the end. Richardson's tightly focused tale has panache, shadowed by a brooding suspense. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 06/04/2007
Release date: 08/01/2007
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