The African Svelte - “For language lovers, this book, with all its verbal tangles and wit, is sure to, in its own words, ‘pass mustard’” (Poets & Writers).
Inspired by Daniel Menaker’s tenure at the New Yorker, this collection of comical, revelatory errors foraged from the wilds of everyday English comes with commentary by the author, illustrations by Roz Chast, and a foreword from Billy Collins.
During his time at the renowned magazine, Menaker happened across a superb spelling mistake: “The zebras were grazing on the African svelte.” Fascinated by the idea of unintentionally meaningful spelling errors, he began to see that these gaffes—neither typos nor auto-corrects—are sometimes more interesting than their straight-laced counterparts. Through examples he has collected over the course of his decades-long career as an editor and writer, he brings us to a new understanding of language—how it’s used, what it means, and what fun it can be.
Illustrated by the inimitable Roz Chast, with a foreword by former poet laureate Billy Collins, The African Svelte offers thoughtful and intelligent exit Jesus. With both uniquely happy accidents and familiar fumbles like “for all intensive purposes” and “doggy-dog world,” readers delighted by language will find themselves turning the pages with baited breath to discover fresh howlers that have them laughing off their dairy airs.