Review of ‘Letters to Paul’ by Keith Hachtel

I discovered this little book by accident, and that’s often the best way. Immediately I was drawn into the story with the first line:  ‘Its been three weeks since everything happened’ – I wanted to read more.

The story is a one-sided insight into the suffering of Lacie as she communicates with Paul – a young man who is introduced to us while lying comatose in his hospital bed. It was touching to read how the ‘relationship’ between Lacie and Paul developed in its intensity throughout the book, and I was frequently put in mind of ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ in many ways while reading.  I particularly liked the graduation story, and found myself a little tearful at what youngsters will do for each other. 

But the story wasn’t just the tale of Lacie and Paul – it was also the tale of what went before and what went after Paul’s hospitalisation. And it really worked. Undoubtedly, the language was a little coarse at times, but it was nothing inappropriate for these young, intense characters. Anything less, and it wouldn’t have felt real.

This epistolary form isn’t popular nowadays, but those of us who enjoy it, REALLY do. And I do.  Also, ultra-short novels aren’t the most popular art form and don’t usually sell brilliantly, but this is a book that transcends its genre – I believe the reader could return again and again, and get something different out of the story each time. And that ending! I loved it.

Message to author: Have you produced this as an audio book or podcast – or even a radio play? I think it would work so well.