Over the years I’ve read a few novels that consisted of diary entries, emails and, of course, letters. Mostly they haven’t been that engaging. Probably because each form imposes specific limitations on the expression of story.
Of course I read ‘S’ not long ago and that was a very successful use of characters leaving notes to each other in the margins of a book, but I also recently finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which is a wonderful book using letters to tell its story.
This was the next of my book-club books and I have to say I loved it.
Unlike other epistolary novels I’ve read, it had lots of different voices in it (eight or more from memory). It also used the way people talk in letters to its advantage, rather than butting up against the limitations of the form.
The story is about personalities in all their quirkiness. And about love, courage, joy and defiance. Using letters in this case allows almost a multiple POV first person telling of the story, but because they’re letters it works more naturally than straight first person.
Not structurally perfect (a little slow to start), but I think this is a really clever book. As well as a lovely story.