The End Of The Alphabet

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While the cool kids with superior surnames got to goof off, graded tests already returned, we at the other end had to wait for the rest of the exams to be handed back as everyone else shuffled out the door. While the Ainsworths and Bensons of the world got roaring applause at the top of the commencement ceremony, we bottom dwellers were relegated to tired golf claps for our diplomas, because of some arbitrary linguistic symbol order established by a bunch of first-century Romans. To rail against this kind of alphabetical hierarchy may seem like superficial, misplaced teenage angst, but it turns out there's a decent amount of research showing that this isn't some trifling issue.

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Studies and surveys suggest having a last name at the end of the alphabet could adversely affect one's psychology, financial status and career prospects. A study in the Economics of Education Review examined the relationship between alphabetical position of a student's name and the student's odds of being admitted to a competitive school. The study concluded that the earlier in the alphabet your name is, the more likely you are to be admitted, probably because of applications being sorted alphabetically.

Gens Y and Z mark the end of the alphabet

A study on the "last name effect" in the Journal of Consumer Research found that your years at the end of the line may have turned you into an impulse buyer. Based on the research, people with names at the end of the alphabet are quicker to jump on perceived deals. The explanation? Suffering through a childhood at the end of the line and the back of the class meant getting only the remaining options in the cafeteria or in the classroom, which conditions people to quickly snatch up opportunities for fear that they may not last long. The effect emerged across four experiments, and interestingly, even people who had married into top-of-the-alphabet names demonstrated the effect if they grew up with an end-of-alphabet name.

Plus, the closer one's last name is to the end of the alphabet, the quicker they'll apparently break out their wallet for the tempting offer. Fine, let's say you overcome your college application disadvantages and avoid being financially duped, and manage to land yourself a good job. Say, as an econ professor. Ambrose Zephyr is a contented man.

He shares a book-laden Victorian house with his loving wife, Zipper. He owns two suits, one of which he was married in. He is a courageous eater, save brussels sprouts. His knowledge of wine is vague and best defined as Napa, good; Australian, better; French, better still. Kir royale is his drink of occasion.

For an Englishman he makes a Ambrose Zephyr is a contented man. For an Englishman he makes a poor cup of tea. He believes women are quantifiably wiser than men, and would never give Zipper the slightest reason to mistrust him or question his love. Zipper simply describes Ambrose as the only man she has ever loved. Without adjustment. Then, just as he is turning fifty, Ambrose is told by his doctor that he has one month to live.

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Reeling from the news, he and Zipper embark on a whirlwind expedition to the places he has most loved or has always longed to visit, from A to Z, Amsterdam to Zanzibar. As they travel to Italian piazzas, Turkish baths, and other romantic destinations, all beautifully evoked by the author, Zipper struggles to deal with the grand unfairness of their circumstances as she buoys Ambrose with her gentle affection and humor.

Meanwhile, Ambrose reflects on his life, one well lived, and comes to understand that death, like life, will be made bearable by the strength and grace of their devotion. The End of the Alphabet is a timeless, resonant exploration of the nature of love, loss, and life. Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. Published January 23rd by Doubleday Canada first published More Details Original Title.

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End of the alphabet

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rev. of The End of the Alphabet by Claudia Rankine | Ploughshares

Winner Commonwealth Writer Prize for Best First Novel I have read this book twice, each time in less than two hours; at 20K words this is probably more properly a novella, not a novel. His doctor sp Winner Commonwealth Writer Prize for Best First Novel I have read this book twice, each time in less than two hours; at 20K words this is probably more properly a novella, not a novel. His doctor speaks quite blithely: Something of a mystery [we never learn what he has:].

Yes, quite; Yes, the doctor offered, unfair would be a very good word about now. Childless, they have devoted themselves to one another and their careers. Richardson zigzags between the present and the past as Ambrose and Zipper zip from place to place. But en route to Elba, Zipper wants to hop off the train at Paris. They had met in Paris. Thus the Eiffel Tower substitutes for Elba. Zipper awakens slightly disoriented, then recalls where they are, and where Ambrose must be: on his stroll.

And she knows, by the time she sets out, exactly where on his stroll he will be. When she gets there, she sits down beside him: You smell like cigarettes, she said. How was the walk? Ambrose lied.

What about the 27th letter?

Lovely, he said. Zipper caught sight of his slowly trembling hands, the subtle curling and uncurling of fingers. How was your lie-in? Feel better? Zipper lied. She wants to throw something at him when he wants to be left alone. She pushes until he admits to being afraid, but so what? Zipper: You selfish, shitty bastard. This is happening to me. Ambrose: Really? Zipper: Really. I can hardly wait. I leave the rest of this conversation for you; suffice it to say that that we are now not far from H ome, and the end of our fable. Richardson wrote a good story, and the title makes it even better. View 1 comment.