Book Club

Book Review: The Letters Page Vol. 2

The Letters Page is a literary journal in letters, published by the School of English at the University of Nottingham and edited by Jon McGregor”.  We had the pleasure to receive by post a copy of The Letters Page Vol 2. I did not expect the book to be delivered in such a nice package! It was with an absolute delight that I unwrapped it. The book is beautifully made and has that lovely fresh book smell, which makes the whole reading experience even better!

This book holds within its pages a collection of letters from different writers. Copy, influence and plagiarism is the loose theme for this set of letters. As you read you  notice that some of the writers incorporated this into their letters, while some focused on something other than that.  I like that. It creates a nice dynamic, where in one letter you come across a piece about an upsetting plagiarism situation and in another about loss. You turn the page and you are faced with a description of being an immigrant where nowhere feels quite like home, and where the writer paints a picture of the desolation that is found in Nicosia after it was divided between Turks  and Greeks. The letters are very different, some in content but all of them in their form of expression because they were written by very different people who write in different ways. The letters were short, interesting and enjoyable. This collection of letters also points you towards the work of the featured writers who you may not otherwise have heard about.

As you move on from letter to letter you take with you something to muse about. The concept of looking at ourselves as a copy of the people who came before us is fascinating. The idea that we are, to a certain extent, a copy of our parents, influenced by our society and environment was touched upon in some of the writings.

As a person who is very interested in how we become the person we are today, I liked the ones that looked back into their past and compared themselves with their fathers, drawing similarities and admitting that we can be much more like our parents than we think. This concept brought to mind a song I love by Elis Regina called Como Nossos Pais which says “despite of everything we had done we are still the same, and we live just like our parents”. It urged me to think of my own life and about all aspects of it that resemble my parents and the life they had. Ways of speaking, of dealing with difficult issues, of making big decisions, of cooking and cleaning. I can see my mother in some of it and my father in others, and even my stepmother in a few. It is fascinating to think how much of a copy we actually are. How much of people we pick up as we go through life and how much of who we are now is made up by what, and who, we were exposed to.

It is hard to put in a paragraph what the book is about. It is a book of collective of perceptions in different forms of expression in writing. Be assured to expect surprises as you go through the letters. Even the footnote in this book is interesting. There were some that made me go back to the letter and reread it with new eyes leaving me shocked for having missed the obvious. Reading all of these letters was a very enjoyable experience and I hope you all enjoy them as much I did!


The Letters Page Vol 2 was launched on the 7th of September!

Featured in this volume: Ioanna Mavrou, Joe Dunthorne, Kit Caless, Nicole Flattery, andrew McMillan, Chimene Suleyman, Darren Chetty, Rowena Macdonald, Sarah Dale, Honathan Ellis, Matthew Welton, Jon McGregor.

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