Undelivered Letters by J Alchem

Title: Undelivered Letters

Author: J Alchem

Publisher: AdProm Media

Date of Publication: 24 October 2017

Genre: Short Story

Rating: 5/5

“If I meet kind people like you, then I’ll learn that too.”

Back in 1993 when letter writing was the norm, an honest and hard-working postman discovers a mistake that unnerves his trustworthiness. Will he be able to race against time and bring closure to all the lives affected?

It is the hope of seeing someone again that makes waiting for them easy. But how can one accept the wait knowing that the one to be waited for will never return? It is under the garb of white lies that a mother consoles her daughter about seeing daddy again. Cathy is also a wife in waiting. An endless waiting. Cathy repeatedly tells her daughter Kara about the return of her dad after his first mountaineering trip with bruises and bandages. But deep down in her heart she knows that he never returned after leaving for his first trek.

“We live in each other, we both will die if we fall apart.” Samuel and Elizabeth are college sweethearts. They spent most of their time together but her father rejects Samuel’s proposal to marry her. They get married against his will. Years later Samuel is convicted of domestic violence and immolation of his wife charged by his father-in-law. Samuel laughs his head off in the court room to the utter shock of his audience. Little do the others know about that day’s accident in the kitchen.

Book thieves run rampage across the city bookstores as more and more books go missing from the shelves. This ‘theft of knowledge’ brings together many detectives as book lovers possessively hoard the remaining ones before all wisdoms runs out. Some call it ‘an act of God’, “a holy happening” or even a “marketing gimmick”. Vigilantes are appointed and prayer meets organised. Famous detective Carl is asked to snoop on the bookstores. In the middle of the night a monstrous dwarf like creature arrives and steals several books. Carl follows him to a jungle where the books are dumped in a large pit. Lenit is thirsty for revenge and he is willing to go to any extreme to hit back at his opponents. But what kind of a revenge is this?

Opening with these little stories in a small town where everyone knows each other, the central protagonists Aron and Sara are bamboozled at the unintended mistake on Aron’s part. A humble postman, Aron forgets to deliver a bunch of letters that are long due. Having discovered them in his old satchel twenty years later gives rise to guilt and anger. He must find the recipients and hand them over their lettered messages. In an effort to offer reconciliation and erase guilt, Aron sets on a journey from door to door to become the ghost writer of their incomplete lives. Though busy with shifting apartments, Aron and Sara make all possible efforts to complete each of the stories as they try to undo their wrong. Buried emotions are rekindled, old friends reunited on paper and un-mourned acquaintances are grieved for heavily as emotions run wild in this heartfelt masterpiece from the critically acclaimed author and winner of StoryMirror Season 1, J Alchem. The stories project a startling realisation that every person we come across has a unique value and that lives of random passers-by are intricately intertwined beyond their own comprehension. Recognising the sensitivity of the situation pushes the couple to help bring the lives of others to a fruitful end. The story within a story within a story framework may seem a little confusing initially but it beautifully describes the brittle circumstances regarding matters of the heart. It also comes with a stark reminder that some mistakes at work are just unaffordable. Aron makes the choice to fulfil his task though he could have easily thrown away the tattered letters. It is this sense of understanding that withholding information is as debauched as cooking up information. Each and every character is well drawn and the subtle shades of their roles are depicted with a distinct finesse in this easy to read book that takes barely an hour to complete. Above all is a brilliantly done book cover that adds to the vintage antiquity of long lost reminiscences about days without technology.

Click the book cover to grab your copy. Happy Reading!