Mary Jo Bang’s new book, The Bride of E, is a disorderly book. It’s disorderly in a fascinating way, though: it’s a fractured abecedarian. An abecedarian is like the dictionary, that most orderly of books: sacrificing everything—plot, character, thematic arc, etc—to the unrelenting order of the alphabet. An alphabet, then, is writing with order but no sense. Most abecedarian books do not so exploit this inherent potential for senselessness, but Bang’s new book works this potential artfully and resonantly to convey a life devastated by meaninglessness and disorientation. It’s a strange, difficult, and beautiful book.