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Walter Abish


Walter Abish was born in Vienna in 1931. His father was a perfumer. As Jews, his family fled the country when the Nazis annexed Austria, going first to France and then, when the Germans invaded France, to Shanghai. In 1948, they moved to Israel, where Abish served in the Israeli Tank Corps. It was while in the army that he decided to become a writer. After military service, he studied architecture. He met and married an American woman, Cecile Gelb, and they moved to the United States in 1957, where he worked as an urban planner. He initially wrote poetry and short stories but published his first, highly experimental novel Alphabetical Africa in 1974. He wrote two further novels but has published little recently. He has taught in various universities in the North-East, particularly Columbia, and has received several awards. He died in 2022.

Other links

Walter Abish
Present Imperfect: a Note on the Work of Walter Abish
Sentimental Re-Education (profile)


1970 Duel Site (poetry)
1974 Alphabetical Africa (novel)
1975 Minds Meet (short stories)
1977 In the Future Perfect (short stories)
1980 How German Is It (novel)
1990 99: The New Meaning (short pieces)
1993 Eclipse Fever (novel)
2004 Double Vision: A Self-Portrait (memoir)