Ida grew up with Jackson and James - where there was “I” there was a “J.” She can’t recall a time when she didn’t have them around, whether in their early days camping out in the boys’ room decorated with circus scenes, or later as teenagers when they were drinking on rooftops. While the world outside saw them as neighbors and friends, to each other the three formed a family unit - two brothers and a sister - not drawn from blood but from a deep need to fill a void in their single-parent households. Theirs was a relationship of communication without speaking, of understanding without judgment, of intimacy without rules and limits.
But as the three mature and emotions become more complex. Ida and Jackson find themselves to be more than just siblings. When Jackson’s somnambulism produces violent outbursts and James is hospitalized, Ida is paralyzed by the events that threaten to shatter her family and put it beyond her reach.
Kathleen Alcott’s striking debut, The Dangers of Proximal Alphabets, is an emotional, deeply layered love story that explores the dynamics of family when it defies bloodlines and societal conventions.