THE DANGERS OF PROXIMAL ALPHABETS

Kathleen Alcott

An extraordinary debut novel that challenges the definition of family and explores the intricate ties that bind us together

Ida grew up with Jackson and James—where there was “I” there was a “J.” She can’t recall a time when she didn’t have them around, whether in their early days camping out in the boys’ room decorated with circus scenes or later drinking on rooftops as teenagers. While the world outside saw them as neighbors and friends, to each other the three formed a family unit—two brothers and a sister—not drawn from blood, but drawn from a deep need to fill a void in their single parent households.

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An extraordinary debut novel that challenges the definition of family and explores the intricate ties that bind us together

Ida grew up with Jackson and James—where there was “I” there was a “J.” She can’t recall a time when she didn’t have them around, whether in their early days camping out in the boys’ room decorated with circus scenes or later drinking on rooftops as teenagers. While the world outside saw them as neighbors and friends, to each other the three formed a family unit—two brothers and a sister—not drawn from blood, but drawn from a deep need to fill a void in their single parent households. Theirs was a relationship of communication without speaking, of understanding without judgment, of intimacy without rules and limits.

But as the three of them mature and emotions become more complex, Ida and Jackson find themselves more than just siblings. When Jackson’s somnambulism produces violent outbursts and James is hospitalized, Ida is paralyzed by the events that threaten to shatter her family and put it beyond her reach. Kathleen Alcott’s striking debut, The Dangers of Proximal Alphabets, is an emotional, deeply layered love story that explores the dynamics of family when it defies bloodlines and societal conventions.

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  • Other Press
  • Paperback
  • September 2012
  • 224 Pages
  • 9781590515297

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$14.95

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About Kathleen Alcott

Born and raised in Northern California, Kathleen Alcott studied in Southern California, lived in San Francisco, and presently resides in Brooklyn. Her work appears in American Short Fiction; Slice; Explosion Proof; The Rumpus, Rumpus Women Vol. 1, an anthology of personal essays; and elsewhere. She is currently at work on her second novel.

Praise

"A wholly original and moving work, a nuanced consideration of the complicated ways in which we love and fail one another. A lovely and intelligent debut."Emily St. John Mandel, author of The Lola Quartet

“A beautiful story of love and heartbreak…[a] joyously good first novel.”Wall Street Journal

"Heartbreaking, honest, and wholly engrossing, The Dangers of Proximal Alphabets dredges the depth of love that divides us, unites us, and folds in on itself until we’re nearly crushed under the sweet ache of its weight."Bookslut

“Every once in a while a book comes along that you didn’t know you were missing until you found it. The Dangers of Proximal Alphabets is one of those books: dreamy and captivating, it nestles up inside of you, even as it tells you a devastating tale. What a wonderful debut for Kathleen Alcott.”Jami Attenberg, author of The Melting Season