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Alena Graedon

Alena GraedonAlena Graedon was born in Durham, North Carolina, and is a graduate of Carolina Friends School, Brown University, and Columbia University’s School of the Arts. She has worked at Columbia, Knopf, and the PEN American Center. The Word Exchange, her first novel, was completed with the help of fellowships at several artist colonies, including The MacDowell Colony, The Ucross Foundation, and Yaddo. It is being translated into eight languages. Her nonfiction has been published in The Believer magazine, and in French translation in Le Believer. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

The Word Exchange: Literary thriller with a side of doomsaying

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The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon

[In our Edge of the Universe column, we review mainstream authors that incorporate elements of speculative fiction into their “literary” work. However you want to label them, we hope you’ll enjoy discussing these books with us.]

When I started listening to Alena Graedon's The Word Exchange on audiobook (read by Tavia Gilbert and Paul Michael Garcia), I was bowled over. The sheer beauty of Graedon's language, the book's inventive dictionary structure, its references to Alice in Wonderland, and the compellingly plausible mystery of the Word Flu hooked me from the beginning. But... ah, there's always a but, isn't there?

The Word Exchange is largely composed of... Read More