What’s in a life? How do you capture it? How do you focus on the essential parts? My Alphabet reflects the abundance and diversity of life – its seriousness and its joys, its mundane routines and its deeply meaningful events.
To each letter of the alphabet, Ilma Rakusa dedicates texts alternating between prose, poetry and conversations. She pens both stories and poems about her eventful life – about her work, world views and companions, about her journeys and the fine arts, about her family and childhood. She portrays what lends meaning to all our lives and what every one of us is eventually faced with – friendships, fears, old age, affection etc.
With her latest book, Rakusa sparks our curiosity and our joy of discovery. The enthusiasm in her lines is obvious. While the elated tone of the “Cross-Country” chapter, for instance, makes you want to put a bounce in your step, the reader will never again consider the pomegranate an ordinary fruit after the homage to it the pertaining chapter.
Kleist Prize 2019: »Ilma Rakusa is a born cosmopolitan and European, she is the epitome of a femme de lettres which is extremely rare these days.«
»Rakusas book is a plea for a sincere sense of self and especially for the courage to be all by oneself in times of upcoming and elapsing trends.« (SPIEGEL online)
»My Alphabet overcomes in a poetic buoyancy the narrowness of the self and makes life wide.« (Paul Jandl, NZZ)
Rakusas »attention is always focussed on the detail, the atmosphere, the distinctive moment. Her literature has always been an invitation to pause, and that’s what her new book does as well.« (Björn Hayer, Wiener Zeitung)
»A celebration of pleanty and variety of life.« (Manfred Bosch, ekz)