Review of The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus

A brilliant premise, executed in an intimate way.

Reminiscent of Fahrenheit 451. A rich commentary on our language-centric, media-absorbed, screen-focused, noise-cluttered, maximalist, data-encumbered, socially dependent, spectacle-obsessed, death-in-life, attention-hoarding, anti-filial, pseudo-environmental, chemically enhanced, status-updating, soul-denying, disengaging ubermodern lives. A slow burn of acidic satirical documentation. A writer to watch, with a grip on the societal pulse and a compelling voice. It could have played out in any number of ways, but the scientific and lingual investigation posited and answered most of my curiosity-bound questions about the incumbent crisis of the plot, the resonating consequences. The main character was desperate, denial-ridden, and offered a stilted perspective on the proceedings. I felt that it was an effective argument, lacking tonal relief, possibly overdeveloped, and he didn’t allow the mystery to breath. Maybe too hurried or the concept was milked until it grew stale. Hard to pin down. In any case, I wavered between intrigued and pestered, settling somewhere in the neighborhood of impressed.

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