Monday, April 18, 2016

Epistolary Fiction 1

Before this year I'd only read this kind of fiction in a Meg Cabot book (The Boy Next Door), and Attachments by Rainbow Rowell, and a skimming of my aunt's copy of Griffin and Sabine. Oh, and in fanfiction. In fact, it was through an anonymous ask on someone's Tumblr that I found out the term for that style, and I'd mistakenly thought it meant fiction written as correspondence only. Actually it can be any series of documents, which means that all the "case files" of Disney franchises I read as a child probably count. 

In 2016:

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman (sort of)
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (sort of)
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Griffin and Sabine by Nick Bantock
84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

I think this genre is one I'd like to explore because of how you get multiple voices without becoming disoriented due to  POV-switching (what a fanfic term, ugh), and again, because you're more aware of the "unreliable narrator" possibility as you read. A drawback of this genre, I think, is that the books work better in print than in e-book form. Another thing I noticed, particularly in 84, Charing Cross Road, is that you're more aware of yourself filling in any perceived "gaps", like when there were several years' worth of correspondence omitted. I think I like that you can't read them as mindlessly as more familiar novel structures, and how the novels are broken into smaller chunks (letters or documents instead of chapters) for easier digestion. The next ones I'd like to read are Love, Rosie by Cecelia Ahern; Dracula by Bram Stoker; We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver; and whatever else I come across.

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