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Étienne's Alphabet

by James King

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literary, historical
list price: $21.00
also available: eBook
category: Fiction
published: 2010
publisher: Cormorant Books
  • Short-listed, Hamilton Literacy Award
  • Short-listed, Toronto Book Award
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To all who knew him, Étienne Morneau lived unremarkably. Raised in an orphanage, his parents unknown, people considered him reserved, unfeeling, and antisocial. His death would have gone unnoticed were it not for his art and writing discovered afterwards. His secret drawings are proof of his artistic genius and his memoir, written in a kaleidoscope of thought and arranged like a dictionary, reveal the depth of his humanity and the uniqueness of his perception.


Étienne’s Alphabet is a celebration of life and of living, with an unforgettable protagonist who sees every moment as a miracle worth committing to canvas.

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Editorial Reviews


— Toronto Life

“Carefully, hopefully, tenderly presented. An opaque character grows translucent; we begin to understand a little of what makes someone very unlike ourselves tick.”

— Tangerine Tree Press

“A work of quiet genius, much like the man who is its inspiration.”

— Westender

“In lesser hands, this fictional memoir might well have diminished into gimmickry, but King brings Étienne’s story to life … Étienne has undoubtedly turned out to be a hero of his own life; that station could not be held by anyone else, except perhaps James King.”

— The Globe and Mail
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