Walter Abish

Walter Abish (born December 24, 1931) is an American author known for his experimental style and exploration of the mechanics of storytelling. His most famous works include the novel 'How German Is It' (Wie Deutsch ist es) and the collection of stories 'In the Future Perfect.' His writing often delves into themes of identity, language, and perception.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. How German Is It

    This novel explores the impact of World War II on Germany's national identity through the eyes of Ulrich Hargenau, a man whose father was executed for plotting against Hitler. As Ulrich returns to his hometown, he grapples with the tension between Germany's new democratic ideals and its Nazi past. The book delves into themes of guilt, memory, and the struggle to reconcile personal and national history.

  2. 2. Alphabetical Africa

    The book is a unique literary experiment that plays with linguistic constraints, where each chapter is constrained by the letters of the alphabet. The first chapter exclusively uses words beginning with the letter 'A', the second chapter incorporates words beginning with 'A' and 'B', and so on, adding one letter per chapter until the entire alphabet is used. Once at 'Z', the process reverses, subtracting one letter per chapter. This structure frames a narrative that spans the African continent, blending themes of love, violence, and geography, all while showcasing the author's fascination with language and its limitations.

  3. 3. Eclipse Fever

    "Eclipse Fever" is a novel that delves into the complexities of language and communication, set against the backdrop of a Mexico gripped by the anticipation of a solar eclipse. The narrative follows a New York journalist as he navigates a series of enigmatic encounters and relationships, including a love affair with a Mexican poet. The book weaves a tapestry of cultural and linguistic misunderstandings, exploring the disjunctions between perception and reality, and the ways in which language both connects and isolates individuals. Through its intricate plot and stylistic experimentation, the novel offers a meditation on the nature of storytelling and the elusive quest for meaning in a world saturated with signs and symbols.

  4. 4. I Am The Dust Under Your Feet

    The book is a contemplative exploration of identity and perception, weaving together a tapestry of narratives that challenge the reader's understanding of reality and self. Through a series of interconnected stories, the text delves into the lives of diverse characters, each grappling with their own existential dilemmas. The author employs a unique literary style, blending poetic language with philosophical musings to examine the human condition, the nature of consciousness, and the often overlooked minutiae of everyday life. As the characters' journeys unfold, the book invites reflection on the ways in which we construct our identities and the profound impact of seemingly insignificant moments.