Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

"The Flame Alphabet": Ben Marcus Speaks at Bookfest 

Wednesday, Feb 1 2012

Sunday, Feb. 26
Ben Marcus' bracing 2012 novel The Flame Alphabet (Knopf) makes high, messy art from the fantastic. His premise — that the language of children suddenly is toxic to adults — has an immediate power but takes on greater power still as Marcus works it over. He connects it to Babel, to the unsayable name of God, but also to the dark feelings parents are often reluctant to cop to, even when buffeted by the piercing chatter of sugared-up kiddos. Marcus' own language is somewhat dangerous, too: blunt, fragmented, tinged with despair. This year's first must-read novel, The Flame Alphabet gets stranger — and more upsetting — as it goes. There's a Jewish cult whose members meet, quite literally, underground, where they attend to speeches delivered through a fleshy pod; there are children taking to the streets and bludgeoning adults with their shouts; there's the terror that your own child's very existence might be enough to hasten your death.

About The Author

Alan Scherstuhl

Related Locations


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"