by Sheila Heti
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Pub Date 06 Feb 2024 | Archive Date 29 Feb 2024
A thrilling confessional from the award-winning, beloved author of Pure Colour.
Sheila Heti kept a record of her thoughts over a ten-year period, then arranged the sentences from A to Z. Passionate and reflective, joyful and despairing, these are her alphabetical diaries.
A Note From the Publisher
“Playful yet disciplined . . . [Heti] knows how to engage the mundane details of life with curiosity and thoughtfulness." —Zeja Z. Copes, Booklist
“[An] arresting literary experiment . . . What the book lacks in traditional narrative structure, Heti supplements with evocative snapshots of life, detailing broken love affairs, mediocre meals, and professional triumphs with the controlled chaos of a late-night thought spiral. She juxtaposes the mundane (‘My book will be done this year!’) and the profound (‘I wonder if I wanted to be a writer because nobody ever told me the truth’). The arcs of friendships and romantic relationships are sliced up and remixed, raising subtextual questions about the linearity of time and the nature of change.” —Publishers Weekly
“While it might be the repetition that immediately catches the eye, it's Heti’s lists’ slight differences that give them resonance: ‘But love can endure. But love is not enough.’ This mutability, likely true of most diaries—and most people's internal lives—is put on display here through the compression of time, which allows almost every sentence to read like a profound truth, only to have the next sentence complicate it. The emotive nature of Heti's precise language takes center stage . . . A thought-provoking experiment in self-reflection and prose, Alphabetical Diaries is perhaps Sheila Heti's most intimate and most universal book yet.” —Alice Martin, Shelf Awareness
"A book that is in many ways is an ode to the sentence; from the muscle of a single line to the power that comes with accrual. An immersive and hugely entertaining read." —Sinéad Gleeson, author of Constellations
"Alphabetical Diaries is a testament to Heti’s artistic power. She gently leads the reader into new dimensions of language previously undiscovered. Beautiful and uncompromising." —Marlowe Granados, author of Happy Hour
"I am drawn to Sheila Heti’s writing like a moth to a flame and Alphabetical Diaries is amongst the most affecting, exquisite books I’ve ever encountered. It is, simply put, utterly and startlingly good. Heti writes so creaturely, so bodily, that it feels like a whole new genre is being formed as we read." —Kerri ní Dochartaigh, author of Cacophony of Bone
"I'll read anything Sheila Heti writes." —Lauren Oyler, author of Fake Accounts
"Readers will become familiar with a set of thematic preoccupations: anxieties about professional success, churning erotic aspirations and frustrations, self-deprecating confessions masking self-regard. Heti provides some genuine fun in her invitation to discover more conventional coherence by reconstructing a chronological version of events . . . An original form of self-exposure emerges as we see some of the author’s verbal habits laid bare." —Kirkus Reviews
Available on NetGalley
Sheila Heti has done it again! I adored ALPHABETICAL DIARIES. For a project that relies on such stricts rules (collating diary entries alphabetically, by sentence) there is still somehow a sense of narrative propulsion. I was able to fill in the story being told, the one of the various men our narrator is juggling alongside her writing, and also her preoccupations with money/capitalism. It's a generous and insightful book, rich and poetic. Thanks so much to the publisher for the e-galley!
The concept shouldn’t work but it just does. I loved this, such a quirky idea taking lines from diary entires over a decade and compiling them alphabetically. I was shocked just how coherent and absorbing it actually was. Shelia Heti is a genius and I will be recommending this book to every one.
For fans of Sheila Heti, this will by no means surprise you with how enjoyable this is. I personally couldn't think of something I like more than a autopsy one of my favorite authors' personal diaries. The alphabetical structure is continually fascinating, how it shows one their own repetitive nature and keeps the reader engaged with the content. I found myself curious about the editing process of this collection and trying to decipher whether or not two paired sentenced even originally belonged within the same year of writing.
It is very Sheila Heti to turn the form of personal diary upside down. Within a cyclical exploration of family, career, men, sex, etc. you will find many golden nuggets of sentences you could possibly live by. Brilliant!
I loved this. I can't believe no one has thought to do this before, but then again, who but Shelia Heti would do this and do it well. Somehow the arbitrary structuring device of alphabetization made this all the more intimate. Who wants to know how many times they start a sentence with their ex's (perhaps??) name? Juicy and frustratingly beautifully. I want to be a voyeur of Sheila Heti's life forever.
thank you @netgalley and @fsgbooks for letting me read this one early! i have been intrigued by sheila heti’s style since i read ‘pure colour’ and i thoroughly enjoyed ‘alphabetical diaries’.
‘alphabetical diaries’ is a compilation of heti’s diaries for a ten year period arranged in alphabetical order by sentence. reading heti’s thoughts in alphabetical, rather than chronological order, made this reading experience more intriguing than most biographical nonfiction reading.
watching the ebbs and flows of her relationships and feelings through a lens that is one that we never consider made this one of the most fascinating and introspective reads of this year. you’re in her deepest darkest thoughts but you have no idea in relation to what they happened, it was truly a thrilling escapade.
i recommend this for all readers that enjoy non-traditional storytelling.