On or about his fiftieth birthday, Ambrose Zephyr failed his annual medical exam. An illness of inexplicable origin with neither known nor foreseeable cure was discovered. It would kill him within the month. Give or take a day.
It was suggested he might want to make arrangements concerning his remaining time. — p. 5 of The End of the Alphabet
Ambrose Zephryr and Zappora “Zipper’ Ashkenazi are a married couple with very little time remaining. After hearing the news of his impending death, Ambrose decides he wants to travel. The couple begin their journey with place names starting with the letter ‘A,’ then ‘B,’ and so on.
This very small book (only 119 pages) was meant to be little. It is indeed indicative of the fleeting amount of time the couple have left to spend together.
I appreciated this novella for its poignancy and tenderness, and its sad portrait of the utter helplessness of its characters. It is a book that can be read in one sitting and/or re-read again and again.
Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Best First Book
2007, 119 pages