Language. I am using it right now. And now. And even now. In The Flame Alphabet the words used to communicate become painful, become lethal. Children become weapons, their burbles make adults sick, their teenage tongues cause more anguish than their angst normally allows. Parents hide from their beloved offspring, people struggle to understand each other, and mostly they strive to survive against their instincts - to connect with others, to speak. Communication is a difficult thing. Most of us aren’t very good at it, as hard as we try. There are always things left unsaid, things we say that hurt, that are wrong. But in the world of Ben Marcus he is the commander of language, he controls the words on the page. This book is at least half great, half frustrating. He writes to confuse and illuminate, to address a myriad of ideas (family, language, illness, cure, genius, survival) that somehow come together, but also leave the reader uncertain and even unsatisfied. Marcus, has not created a perfect book, but it’s compelling and strange and unsettling. He’s a wily devil.