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Books & Authors

Epistolary Novels

Whether in the form of letters, diary entries, or excerpts from newspapers, interviews, books and other documents, epistolary novels tell their stories in episodes from the point of view of one or more characters. For a change from the straightforward narrative, try one of the epistolary novels listed below.

“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time” by Mark Haddon. Fifteen-year-old Christopher Boone seeks to solve the murder of his neighbor’s dog. Christopher relates how he goes about his investigation and what he finds in journal entries, drawings, and charts.

 

“We Need to Talk About Kevin” by Lionel Shriver. In a series of letters written to her husband, a mother explains the events that led up to their son committing a horrific crime.

 

“The Martian” by Andy Weir. An astronaut left behind on Mars sends transmissions to earth as he attempts to survive.

 

“Carrie” by Stephen King. The story of a teenaged misfit with telekinetic powers who after years of bullying and mistreatment exacts fiery revenge on her tormentors, school, and town.

 

"The Color Purple" by Alice Walker. The main character, Celie, tells her experiences as an abused and uneducated black woman in the South through a series of letters to God and to Nettie, her beloved sister.

 

"Dracula" by Bram Stoker. Told through journal entries, letters and newspaper articles, Bram Stoker relates Dracula's migration from Transylvania to Victorian England to spread the vampire curse.

 

"Where'd You Go Bernadette" by Maria Semple. In this comic novel, the title character, Bernadette, who had been planning a family vacation to Antarctica, suddenly goes missing. Her daughter, Fifteen-year-old Bee Branch, tries to piece together how to find Bernadette by studying her emails, memos, letters, and other clues she left behind.

 

"World War Z" by Max Brooks. This post-apocalyptic horror novel is written as a government inquiry into a past zombie plague. It uses interviews, transcripts, and official documents to relate the specific horrors of the zombie plague and the resulting social, economic and political changes.

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