I was in Ireland and all I can remember thinking about was… I was in London and all I can remember thinking about was… I was in Berlin and all I was thinking about was…
Taking his cue from Japanese author Kenzaburō Ōe’s Rouse Up O Young Men of the New Age!, Alan Cunningham has produced a debut novella that is both beautiful and experimental – a powerful exploration of sexuality, placelessness and the body.
Count from Zero to One Hundred is written as a series of prose fragments, fluctuating from conversation to philosophical reflection in an anxious stuttering staccato, as its narrator moves across some of the great cities of Europe – Berlin, London, Dublin, Budapest – and other parts of the world.
Traces of Beckett and Joyce are felt in this moving and contemporary meditation on the limits and vulnerability of the body, and the power of language and imagination to transcend those limits.
‘Structured as a series of interconnected vignettes this novella offers an intriguing intermingling of intensely personal meditations, yet simultaneously rigorously analytical observations on intimacy and the body. Language and bodies become entangled, acting on themselves and each other, both as tools of observation and physical transformation. Count from Zero to One Hundred can be read in one breathless session, yet also creates an extended moment of reflection and questions to which one can keep returning.’
‘In Count from Zero to One Hundred, Alan Cunningham opens windows into a life in transit, into a mind that is only at times happy with the distortions and indecisions it produces.’
Nick Sweeney, Sabotage Reviews
‘It’s a cliché to call anything the “last taboo”, but disability and sexuality is still, to a certain extent, unspeakable. Easy enough, perhaps, to discuss in abstract terms, but fraught with difficulty on a personal level, between disabled people and their loved ones. This deeply moving book initiates such a conversation, but in a manner shot through with paradox.’
Jessica Stacy, The Literateur
‘I thoroughly enjoyed reading Count from Zero to One Hundred. It has a rawness and honesty that’s very refreshing. I can’t remember the last time I read a book from cover to cover in one sitting. Highly recommended!’
Kieran Bresnan (Amazon)
Author photo by Briony Ridley
Alan Cunningham is a writer from the north of Ireland. Currently based in London, he was born in Newry and has previously lived in Belfast, Dublin and Berlin.
He has taught on issues relating to appropriation and art at the Node Centre for Curatorial Studies, Berlin, and on Intellectual Property issues at Queen Mary, University of London.
Count from Zero to One Hundred is his first book.