The Letters, by Fiona Robyn

thelettersThe moment I encountered Fiona Robyn’s blog, I was enthralled. I go there often for a quick refreshing moment of awareness in front of a small but wisdom-filled detail of daily life.

As soon as I found out about her new book, I wanted to be part of it. So, after reading the book and writing this review, I am going to have Fiona over as a guest on my blog, Daily Writing, on 29th March, when she will answers some questions for us.

So here I am. I just finished reading and I’m trying to gather my thoughts.

I have to confess that it was not exactly what I was expecting, although one of her characters does go to Nepal to become a Buddhist nun. But “The Letters” is quite the page turner, a well paced story with intriguing and faulty characters who don’t look for enlightenment as much as they look for fruitful relationships and tensionless family connections. But I guess it depends where you look.

Despite the unexpected turns of events and the absorbing story, The Letters it is not a fast read. Which, you all know, I like. The elements of suspense are not the main triggers of interest. The depth of the characters is what had a profound effect on me. Violet is one of those characters that you cannot quite place, who remains in the end quite mysterious still, who changes enormously throughout the book and yet remains true to her core. She is cold and angry and yet so deeply human that you cannot help but keep her in mind for a very long time.

The writing is powerful with short flashes of pure beauty like this one:

“[…]Violet ducked under it and put her head onto Theresa’s chest, and suddenly she moved into a different place inside herself. It was a dark place, like a cave, and there were people standing at the entrance, looking out for trouble.”

The Letters is a wonderful book full of surprises and excitement, of depth and insight, (with admirable cover art, I have to add) and I wouldn’t mind at all being seen reading this one the subway. (Now, on a personal note, I am thinking of changing my rating system from stars to feelings I would experience if I were to be caught reading the book while riding the subway. I got this idea from a reviewer of the New York Times Book Review. I would be imagining that I am living in New York, because here in happy suburbia nobody sees me when I read in my car, in the parking lot of my daughter’s preschool. Even if they saw me, as I am no New York Times reviewer, I don’t know how many would care. But I am very snobbish about my reading, so that should be quite telling.)