Powerful and intimate ... The book is made up of Heti’s frank, funny, filthy and casually philosophical diaries, 10 years of them ... The effect is riveting ... Heti is wrestling openly with the things that matter.
The game that is Alphabetical Diaries has clear rules but no clear objective. The structure is strict, the substance almost uniformly enigmatic ... Never crystallizes into a narrative, but it does induce us to eavesdrop on ourselves ... It is certainly impressive and engrossing to watch Heti navigate the obstacles she has set for herself, the way it is impressive to watch athletes leap over hurdles or savants wrestle Rubik’s Cubes. But does the skill involved in an especially creative escape vindicate the construction of the labyrinth? ... The results are unsatisfying for the same reason that text manufactured by AI is ... We are humans, and we want to be addressed not by alphabetization but by one of our best living authors: by the sparkling Sheila Heti.
Vacillating between the mundane, the shocking, and the aphoristic, Alphabetical Diaries constantly drew me into its gravitational pull ... Though mundanity is a primary focus...Alphabetical Diaries achieves something more sacred and less performative ... A pointillist portrait of the diary itself, a text that is more like a shadow cast by this woman, not the woman herself.