Robert Allison || The Letter Bearer

The Letter Bearer could have been a great novel. It’s story has all the potential: soldier gets wounded in the war, loses his memory, is left in the desert by the Germans, found by deserters, joins them for a while and then decides to find his own way. Throughout the novel ‘the rider’ is left wondering who he is and what he did before he gets wounded. His only hint a bag filled with letters from soldiers, one of them maybe him. It goes wrong, because Allison is too much enamoured with his own possibility to write beautiful sentences. I do not mind beautiful sentences, I do mind beautiful sentences that have been written to show that the author can. I absolutely believe that Allison can write, I hope that next time his editor will make it clear to him that he does not have to show off with beautifully chosen words, explicit details and erudite facts. Then he will deliver a novel that fulfills its potential.

letter bearer


About booksandliliane

I am an avid reader and love to share my love for literature. I have my own opinion on books that have been shortlisted, laureated by critics or are pushed on us by bookstores. I will try and explain why I like or do not like a book. Hopefully influencing you in your choice of books to read.
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One Response to Robert Allison || The Letter Bearer

  1. Col says:

    I’ve come across this “look how clever I am” approach a few times myself and can see exactly how this gets in the way of a novel. Even with someone as talented and experienced as John Banville, I occasionally find myself thinking there can be such a thing as ‘too well crafted!’

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