Internet Review of Books: THE LAST WINDOW-GIRAFFE

Whatever destroys dignity is funny

THE LAST WINDOW-GIRAFFE:

A Picture Dictionary for the Over Fives

By Péter Zilahy, Tr. by Tim Wilkinson

119 pp. Anthem Press $22.95

Reviewed by Elizabeth McCullough

The Last Window-Giraffe takes its name from a common alphabet primer from author Péter Zilahy’s school days in Hungary: Window-Giraffe: a Pictorial Encyclopaedia. In Hungarian, the word for “window” begins with the letter a; the word for “giraffe” begins with the letter z. We might call a similar book in English Apple-Zebra. “A is the first letter of the Hungarian alphabet,” Zilahy explains. “A is the first letter of the Serbian alphabet. A is the first letter of the Croatian alphabet. A is the first letter of the Bosnian alphabet. A does not equal A.”

And so begins Zilahy’s tragic romp through the disintegrating political landscape of post-Tito Yugoslavia. The year is 1996, and Belgrade, Serbia’s capital, is wracked by student demonstrations against President Slobodan Milošević…

via Internet Review of Books.

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