The End of the Alphabet by C.S. Richardson
"It's about a married couple, Ambrose and Zappora, but everyone calls her Zipper. And they're a team, and they've been married for years, but are still in love. And when Ambrose is 50, he goes to the doctor for a physical and finds out he has a month to live."
"Now, when Ambrose was a little boy, he was obsessed with travel, and he'd always write letters to the embassies in other countries saying he was planning a visit, and would they please send him 'any and all information concerning their fine country.' So when he finds out he's going to die, he and Zipper go on a trip to all the places in the world they found most beautiful or special, in alphabetical order. A is for Amsterdam, B is for Berlin, C is for Chartres."
"They go to all these wonderful places and do romantic things, and they try to have fun. But it's too sad, and they can't help getting crabby with each other even though it's the last trip they'll ever take together. And when they get to Istanbul, they have to go home because he gets too sick..."
And at that point in recounting The End of the Alphabet to Brady, I burst into tears.
It's a tiny book, barely over 100 pages. However, the sadness is packed in tight, and not a word of it is banal or corny or emotionally manipulative. It's a beautifully written book.
If you liked...: About Alice by Calvin Trillin or Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield, this book is for you.