"Simply an epiphany."Kirkus, starred review
Simon Austen has the names people have called him tattooed all over his body. Waste of Space. Bastard. A Threat to Women. Murderer. Facing a lifetime behind bars and subjected to new therapies for sexual reprogramming, Simon finds himself plunged into a terrifying process of self-reconstruction. But how much, in the end, can a man really change? Darkly compelling and deeply moving, Alphabet is a psychological exploration of one man’s uncertain and often-harrowing journey towards rehabilitation.
"Intense, revealing, challenging and above all riveting I kept saying to myself, how could she know this?”Erwin James, convicted murderer, author of A Life Inside: A Prisoner’s Notebook
Sometimes novelists go too farand sometimes they manage to demonstrate that too far is the place they needed to go.”Time Out UK
Praise for Kathy Page
Her unforgettable prose is moody, shape-shifting, provocative and always as compelling as a strong light at the end of a road you hesitate to walk down...but will.” Amy Bloom, author of Where the God of Love Hangs Out
Marvellously well-crafted I can't remember the last time I was so compelled, impressed and unsettled by the emotional world of a novel.” Sarah Waters, author of Tipping the Velvet
Page's gritty and illuminating sixth novel, originally published in 2004, and shortlisted for Canada's Governor General's Literary Awards in 2005, follows Simon Austen, a convicted murderer, through a series of inner triumphs and small victories as he makes his way through the British penal system. Fascinating from the first page, readers watch Austen as he learns how to read, becomes a letter writer for his fellow inmates, and "gets into education, big time," eventually earning all his high school credits. He decides to address the issue of his inability to relate to women, on his own at first, by corresponding with various women. His description, in one of those letters, of the events that lead him to strangle his girlfriend sends him into a tailspin as he begins to face the underlying reasons behind the impulsive violent act that has defined his life. He is sent to an intensive therapeutic program that forces him to face many of his most serious issues. The journey Austen makes is primarily an inner one, a slow peeling back of the layers of protection he uses to shut everyone out, including himself. As he starts to let people in, in a series of increasingly authentic interactions, we bear witness to his slow and inspiring transformation.