THE LOST LETTERS OF WILLIAM WOOLF by Helen Cullen

THE LOST LETTERS OF WILLIAM WOOLF

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A dead-letter detective rethinks his life when he reads a series of letters addressed to "My Great Love" in Cullen’s debut.

William Woolf is one of a small handful of postal workers who attend to dead letters, letters that for whatever reason have gotten lost in the system. His particular penchant is for the "supernaturals," letters addressed to mythical, fictional, or otherworldly recipients. When he finds a letter addressed to "My Great Love" in his pile one day, he slowly begins a journey of rediscovery in his own life. The letter writer is addressing her future love whom she’s not yet met, and in her, William sees both the vitality of young love and the difference between this vibrancy and the state of his own marriage. His relationship with Clare, his wife of 14 years, has been getting rockier and rockier, and this echo of what they once had brings it to the forefront. Should he find the mysterious letter writer? Should he try to reconnect with his wife? The novel is exceedingly well-written and flows incredibly well. Despite the quirkiness implied by the setting of the dead-letter office, the story is focused much more on William and Clare’s marital problems than anything that’s happening at William’s job. There are chapters told from both William's and Clare’s points of view, although more frequently William's. Though Cullen attempts to show that both spouses are somewhat at fault for their situation, Clare is a less sympathetic character; she seems unaware for most of the book of the unrealistic standards she is imposing on her husband. A scene of William reuniting an important package with its recipient is quite moving, and the lack of more scenes showing the pathos of William’s work is unfortunate.

An eccentric novel with less whimsy than angst.

Pub Date: June 4th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-525-89208-0
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Graydon House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2019




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