Undelivered LettersUndelivered Letters by J. Alchem

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review.

The story or should I say, these interwoven stories open with the story of Aron, a former postman who’s been married to Sara (who he met on one of his rounds) for over twenty years. The two are moving house and reminiscing on times past, how they met and were married, and Sara’s longing for her father, a musician who travelled a lot and who Sara could never reach. When packing their things, they come upon Aron’s old bag, in which they find some letters he’d forgotten to deliver on the day he got a promotion and came straight home to tell his wife. They decide that he must make up for this error and deliver these letters now. From this point we are told three stories of people who have experienced different trials in life, who have loved (in different ways) and lost, who have (and are suffering in some way) and who obviously have a connection with these letters but we don’t quite know how. The third part provides this connect as Aron goes to each of these addresses delivering the letters he had missed.

I liked the whole premise of the book, the idea of what these undelivered letters could hold within them―would they bring closure, relief, answers? The stories themselves were also fairly interesting, and in some way or other are tied to the theme of love and loss. But the end was a little odd, and it seemed as though this short volume was just a “draft” of sorts for something longer that the author is in the process of working on. When the stories of the various characters begin, one gets the impression that this was it- three letters that Aron had with him, but later we are told in a few lines that there were nine and he had different experiences with each (besides the three we are “shown”), and the paperback version we are told will be longer with more letters. So was the end really an end? But more than this, I found the writing and language were not up to par―besides proofing errors, it tends to get too colloquial in places, and in others it just doesn’t read very well. There were a few other issues as well, such as a prison (the setting is obviously not India) in 2013 only recently having got computers (that I don’t think would be the case), “plaintiffs” in a criminal trial (?), and some of the characters’ rather odd actions.

So overall, I guess I liked the idea but not so much the execution.

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