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Alphabet Paperback – 7 Apr 2005


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix; New Ed edition (7 April 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753818612
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753818619
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,598,873 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Kathy Page's novel is a claustrophobic page-turner focused on a manipulative young man called Simon, who's serving a life sentence for having strangled his girlfriend.... Page makes his journey towards partial redemption an intriguing one. (INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY)

Book Description

A powerful novel about love, loss and redemption - 'One of the strongest novels of the year' Sunday Telegrapg

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By V. Grut on 3 Aug. 2004
Format: Hardcover
Alphabet is the story of Simon Austen, a handsome, intelligent, damaged young man serving life for a murder he DID commit. The story is about his painful struggle to come to terms with what he has done, to connect with his own emotions and allow himself to feel and, ultimately, to love. I was gripped first of all by the pitch perfect tone of the narration. Simon's dry, bitter, humourous voice evokes the harsh environment of British prisons in the 1980s and takes us through his own battles to "progress" through the system and ultimately get parole. My sense of the authenticity of the research is backed up by the fact that there is an admiring quote from Lifer & one-time Guardian columnist Erwin James on the dustjacket. Following the twists and turns in Simon's story there were moments when my breath was quite literally taken away by what was happening. And the ending is both uplifting and utterly unpredictable. This is both a serious and very readable work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By H. Ashford VINE VOICE on 30 May 2006
Format: Paperback
I loved this book, and felt quite sad when I got to the end.

The story is about a young man serving life for murder and how he gradually comes to accept his crime and starts to deal with his problems in building relationships with women. Not the sort of material I would normally choose, but I really felt that I got to understand his feelings and thinking - and by about halfway through I was really rooting for him.

I found this book fascinating reading - it held me both intellectually and emotionally. I would love to know how much research the author did - in particular whether the descriptions of the prisons and the therapies he underwent realistic or completely fictional.
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By Kate Vane on 14 April 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Alphabet tells the story of Simon, who is serving a life sentence for murdering his girlfriend. During his sentence, he learns to read and write. As an intelligent and manipulative man, he sees the opportunities this brings to him - not only does he now have a saleable skill, but he begins writing to women outside the prison.

He also begins a course of therapy. Reading and writing have given him the power to look beyond the confined world in which he finds himself. But Simon will have to make himself vulnerable if he is to understand what he has done and what it meant. And in prison that brings risks.

Page brilliantly captures the way prison is both tedious and terrifying. Her prose is understated and there is a bleak humour which runs through the book. By telling the story from Simon's point of view, she challenges the reader. We identify with Simon as he confronts the dangers of change, and the possibility of redemption. Like him we have to face up to the implications.
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By hjb on 8 Jan. 2011
Format: Hardcover
As I work in a prison I am looking forward to reading this book, as I do sometimes work with adults there who still have not even the basic literacy skills, which this story is partly about overcoming. I bought it because my sister-in-law recommended it as an extremely good read.... and she knows her stuff!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Gripping story with a tough message. 26 Oct. 2004
By David Jones - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This novel manages to combine an uncanny knowledge of the bizzare intricacies of the prison system within a compelling narrative. The characters are drawn with sympathy but this is no sentimental portrait of a killer. Rather it is the complexities of the protaganist's personality and the way that this is gradually, painfully slowly, changed over a long period and through bumpy encounters with inflexible authority as well as those who show a genuine concern, which carries conviction.
It is a good read as well as a telling reminder of the way in which we can fail to fully comprehend our fellow human beings.
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