A is for Everyone

by Dennis Vanderspek

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In this extraordinary fiction, all letters lead to A, and A is for everyone. One reads between the letter(s) and discovers a new literary form that defies definition. When I first approached this manuscript, I thought it might be in the manner of Alphabetical Africa, an Oulipian experiment, but no, the author is up to something quite different. Using the familiar format of an alphabet book for children (“A is for….”), this fiction is a truncated alphabet of surprises. Each entry is a path leading down avenues of imagination. The entries range from surreal parables, anthropomorphic fables, memories of an unnamed narrator, poetic musings, and deadpan observations of everyday life. There are mini epiphanies and nuggets of absurdism. The language is simple, in the best sense of the word, deceptively so, slightly skewed, à la Russell Edson. I’ve read nothing quite like it, and its originality deserves this year's Kenneth Patchen Award.
                                               —Derek Pell, author of Naked Lunch at Tiffany's, Snowdrop in Africa, Assassination Rhapsody, and a score of other amazing books, from his encomium for A is for Everyone, winner of the 2021 Kenneth Patchen Award for the Innovative Novel
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