Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Book Sprinkled With Vowels

Eunoia is the shortest word in English containing all five vowels - and it means "beautiful thinking". It is also the title of Canadian poet Christian Bok's book of fiction in which each chapter uses only one vowel.

Via suite101.com
The book took seven years to write and proved a real labour of love for the author, because each chapter is univocalic – every one of the five sections uses just one vowel. As if that weren’t enough of a challenge, Bok set himself further stipulations in the production of his work: each chapter had to contain a voyage, a banquet and an orgy, and must allude to the art of writing. In addition, Bok has tried to avoid repetition, and by doing so has used around 98% of the words available to him.

Bok has given each vowel its own personality: “A” is courtly, “I” is egotistical and romantic; “O” is rude and jokey; “E” is elegaic and epic, and “U” is obscene, and he is remarkably successful at conveying this idea in each chapter. Thus we hear the story of “Helen, the new-wed empress… restless, she deserts her fleece bed where, detested, her wedded regent sleeps” (Chapter E), of Ubu, who “struts … snuffs up drugs… hugs Ruth” and does plenty more things unmentionable here (Chapter U), and of the first person narrator who finds “thinking within strict limits is stifling” (Chapter I).
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1 comment:

  1. What an unusual and delightful treat for readers of this book! The narrative journey of post-modern books has been uniquely unpredictable and an inspiration for first time writers. I am sure there will be some logophiles who will appreciate the painstaking efforts put into creating this book by Bok! Thanks for this post.
    - Furry-byter

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