Alveolar clicks, sibilants, or Braille?

When I read Danielewski, I approach it as a sort of video game with beaucoup Easter Eggs rather than as a canonical piece of literature with a codex, three act structure, and narrative arcs.

In that spirit, I began Googling things I found in the Zambia section at the beginning of the book.

I was unable to get anywhere with the supposed reference to a list of alveolar clicks, sibilants, bilabial fricatives and so forth (which, after all, were used in most human proto-languages, or so I am told). I figured that one was invented. The symbols at the beginning and the end of each piece of dialog, however, look more like Braille to me.

As far as I can find, there are three Braille symbols (

  • either a backwards Z in Grade 1 Braille or “the” in Grade 2 Braille;
  • the letter N;
  • the letter D.

There may be more that I missed, and we only started classes this week so I’m not as far into the text as some of you, so there may be more instances of Braille or Braille-like writing that I’ve missed.

(The ironist in me would like to see the Braille version of TF, but I digress.)

Has anyone else “decoded” these Braille or Braille-like symbols any further?


One response to “Alveolar clicks, sibilants, or Braille?”

  1. bookknight101 says :

    Looking at a chart for grade 2 Braille it looks like the lines open with ‘the’ and close with ‘not’.


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