epistolary - adj. contained in, or carried on by letters
I don't know why I love epistolary novels so much. Maybe it's because I've always loved getting letters in the mail. I think it's sad that letter writing has become such an antiquated and obsolete past-time. Nick Bantock once said, "One of the key pleasures of receiving a letter is the act of holding and entering an envelope--a sort of cross between Christmas and sex." There are a lot of great epistolary novels out there. Here are three of my all-time favorites:
1. Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn is an epistolary gem. Find out what happens on the Island of Nollop when the use of alphabet letters--written, spoken, or read--are outlawed one by one. No one misses Q or Z. Even losing J, K, and D isn't too bad. But the leaders of Nollop don't stop there. This book is so cleverly written I absolutely love it!
2. More than a story, Griffin and Sabine by Nick Bantock is a visual treat. I love Bantock's collaged postcards. Even better, the letters in his book are real. You get to pull each one out of its envelope, open it up and read it. Could anything be better than that?
3. Last, but certainly not least, is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Set on the Isle of Guernsey during and just after World War II, this is an unforgettable story of love and survival delightfully told in letters. I recently reread this book and it was even better the second time around!
Each of these epistolary novels is like opening a letter from a friend.