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The Twenty-Seventh Letter of the Alphabet

A Memoir

Kim Adrian

Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Imprint: University of Nebraska Press
Published: 10/2018
Pages: 312
Subject: Biography and Autobiography
eBook ISBN: 9781496210265

DESCRIPTION

Clear-sighted, darkly comic, and tender, The Twenty-Seventh Letter of the Alphabet is about a daughter's struggle to face the Medusa of generational trauma without turning to stone. Growing up in the New Jersey suburbs of the 1970s and 1980s in a family warped by mental illness, addiction, and violence, Kim Adrian spent her childhood ducking for cover from an alcoholic father prone to terrifying acts of rage and trudging through a fog of confusion with her mother, a suicidal incest survivor hooked on prescription drugs. Family memories were buried—even as they were formed—and truth was obscured by lies and fantasies. In The Twenty-Seventh Letter of the Alphabet Adrian tries to make peace with this troubled past by cataloguing memories, anecdotes, and bits of family lore in the form of a glossary. But within this strategic reckoning of the past, the unruly present carves an unpredictable path as Adrian's aging mother plunges into ever-deeper realms of drug-fueled paranoia. Ultimately, the glossary's imposed order serves less to organize emotional chaos than to expose difficult but necessary truths, such as the fact that some problems simply can't be solved, and that loving someone doesn't necessarily mean saving them.  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kim Adrian is the author of Sock and the editor of The Shell Game: Writers Play with Borrowed Forms (Nebraska, 2018).  

REVIEWS

"A stunning merger of form and content; a remarkable portrait-becomes-self-portrait; and something like a master class in complicity."—David Shields, author of Reality Hunger

"The Twenty-Seventh Letter of the Alphabet is a revelation. By structuring the book in the unconventional form of a glossary, Kim Adrian allows the reader into the very intimate mechanics of her memory. Each page I read pulled me deeper under the book's peculiar spell. Through Adrian's rigorous attention to detail I found myself involuntarily drawn into her perspective, both as a child and a grown woman, hungry to make sense of this troubled family and this vibrantly unstable mother."—Alysia Abbott, author of Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father 

"A vivid, vibrant glossary of a life. Adrian's sharp prose and unique form combine to illustrate how powerfully our childhoods reverberate throughout our lives."—Dinty W. Moore, author of Between Panic and Desire

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