- Hardcover: 112 pages
- Publisher: Canongate Books; Main edition (6 Nov. 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1847672396
- ISBN-13: 978-1847672391
- Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 1 x 20.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 18 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 170,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Eunoia Hardcover – 6 Nov 2008
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"Extraordinary, outrageous, irresistible - a must for verbivores." (Gyles Brandreth)
"Amazing... impressive... It's beautiful, its funny and it's moving." (Globe and Mail)
"Linguistically daring and delightfully inventive...engaging, witty and moving." (Stuart Kelly Scotland on Sunday 2008-10-26)
A wonderful gift book for word freaks, scrabble nuts, and crossword fans everywhere...See all Product description
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BUT - BE WARNED - there is, particularly in the "U" chapter, some pretty blunt sexually explicit language. Yes, *that* word is in there. And *that* one...
I was a bit shocked as there is no hint of this either on the cover or in any of the reviews I saw before buying, and if I had known I might have thought twice about giving this to my Mum as a present!
Still gets 5 stars though.
A pagan skald chants a dark saga
..staff plan a bacchanal - a gala ball that has what charm small galas lack
Hassan.. has, as a snack, canard à l'ananas sans safran
A lass as sad as a swan twangs a glass harp
A clasp snaps apart, and a scant shawl falls
Satan.. draws a fractal mandala - a charm that can trap what a Cathar savant calls an 'astral avatar'
We may have our favourites, but can even a Cathar savant doubt this is poetry?
The first five chapters are each dedicated to a vowel (in alphabetical order), and each chapter only contains words containing that voewl and no other. What is more, the author has constrained the stories in other ways and used the majority of all words that he could use in the writing.
After these five chapters there are other random experiments in language, such as the poem written only with the letters in the word "vowels".
I am very glad I read this book. It was an amazing feat of language that took the author 7 years to write (and the only surprise was that he could complete it at all). On the downside it is not an easy read! The constraints of the book make the language hard going. There were words there I had to look up (and I generally don't have that problem).
The mixture of words that in other works would be clearly pretentious with occasional gutter language also felt odd. Particularly in the "u" chapter, I was both impressed and dissapointed that the writer could describe sexual intercourse using just words with the "u" vowel - but imaginations will not run far as to which words he used. That rather sullied the beauty of the book in my opinion.
Hard going it might be, but this was not a long book and it was very much worth the read. Anyone who loves language cannot help but be impressed by what is achieved here.
But good grief! Was this ever a difficult book to read! Initially anyway. And then you get used to the sheer brilliance of the man and you feel compelled to read it all the way through because perversely (or maybe that's just me) you want to see for yourself that he really has done it. He really has created a poetic piece of art.
Yes there is a story and yes there are mirthful moments but really, at the end of it, you are really just shell-shocked with the literature.
Each chapter is a dedication (for want of a better word) to a specific vowel (in alphabetical order of course) and within that chapter, every single word used has the vowel in it. Yes. Every Single Word. There are slightly more random thoughts towards the end but only after all the vowels have been done.
It took Mr. Bok seven years to complete it. I am surprised it only took him seven years...
However, I feel that emotion was sacrificed for the sake of technical structure and whilst I enjoyed reading it - for the art and engineering of the language - it probably isn't going to be one of those "must read again" books.
I would definitely recommend a first read - or at least a look - at this technical marvel. But please do not expect to find anything close to metaphysical emotion or mythical metaphor.
It does not touch your soul but it certainly makes you smile!
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Extremely well expressed
Slightly silly in bits
Not good for morons
It was hard enough just thinking up that...Read more
Accurate, clear description.
Prompt delivery. Thanks.