Famous Epistolary Books
by: Ava Zavora
In Dear Adam, book blogger Eden enters a passionate online relationship with a mysterious Englishman named Adam. Although they eventually talk over the phone, their communication begins with tweets, then graduates to e-mails, chats and texts, the modern reincarnations of the old-fashioned love letter. Because they communicate in this way, Dear Adam can be characterized as an epistolary novel (one written in the form of a series of letters). On a side note, in Dear Adam, a letter which falls into the wrong hands leads to a heart-racing plot twist.
One of the most famous epistolary novels is Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The narrative structure, which employs letters, newspaper articles, diary entries, ship logs, telegrams, and other records contributes to a suspense-laden, dramatic effect.
Griffin and Sabine by Nick Bantock unfolds through postcards with strange artwork and letters. What made Griffin and Sabine unusual at the time is that there were actual physical postcards and written letters enclosed in envelopes attached to the book. Not only was the reading experience unique and tactile, but the strange love story, told over three such books, a haunting one.
I had assumed that 84, Charing Cross Road was fiction but recently discovered that it is a real life compilation of letters spanning 30 years between New York television script writer Helene Hanff and Frank Doel, the head buyer for Marks & Co. Book Store in London. Hanff’s brash, witty voice contrasts vividly with Doel’s reserved and polite replies. Since their correspondence revolves around Hanff’s inquiries on rare, out of print books and her rhapsodies or condemnation of the editions which Doel procures for her, 84, Charing Cross Road is a must for serious book lovers. After you read it and check out the tribute website for the now shuttered book shop, watch the movie starring Anne Bancroft as Hanff and Anthony Hopkins as Doel (absolutely perfect casting!).
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Genre – Contemporary Romance
Rating – PG-13
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Quality Reads UK Book Club Disclosure: Author interview / guest post has been submitted by the author and previously used on other sites.