Richardson’s first novel is a slim 139 page contemplation on how one would spend the remaining days of a relatively uneventful life. Ambrose Zephyr is diagnosed with an unnamed incurable disease on his 50th birthday. After the initial shock wears off he embarks on a whirlwind trip with his wife, Zipper. (Don’t even ask about the ridiculous names.) He decides to visit one place for each letter of the alphabet. A is for Amsterdam and so on.
My book club was divided down the middle on this one. Some of the women really loved it. They thought Richardson’s pared down, choppy prose suited the story- giving it an urgency which was mirrored by Ambrose’s desperate attempt to pack as much into his remaining days as he could. Others, like myself, thought the book failed to connect the reader with Ambrose. How can you care about someone you know so little about?
Before publishig this first novel, Richardson was an award-winning book designer.