—Tony Tanner, Granta
One could make comparisons with, say, William Gass on one side—high priest and bon viveur in ‘the sweet country of the word’—and Donald Barthelme on the other. But it should be made clear that Abish has his own way of deconstructing conventional narrative modes and, at the same time, getting something distinctly said about life, consciousness, and word, in contemporary America.
—Richard Howard, The New York Times Book Review
A novel of erotic obsession, in which language itself has received the transferred charge of feeling.
Walter Abish has dovetailed his novel within a Procrustean scheme that has the terrifying and irrefutable logic of the alphabet. Alphabetical Africa is in the line of writers such as Raymond Roussel, Raymond Queneau, Georges Perec, and Harry Mathews, who have used constrictive forms to penetrate the space on the other side of poetry.