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A Letter Marked Personal Reviews

A Letter Marked Personal by J.P. Donleavy

A Letter Marked Personal

J.P. Donleavy

Score pending

1 review

Imprint: The Lilliput Press Ltd
Publisher: The Lilliput Press Ltd
Publication date: 1 Oct 2019
ISBN: 9781843517665

A Letter Marked Personal is J.P. Donleavy's last novel, completed in 2007. Set in New York, it relates the interior monologue of forty-eight-year-old Nathan Langriesh Johnson, the founder of a successful lingerie company.

2 stars out of 5
Sean Hewitt
5 Nov 2019

"One redeeming feature of the book is that it is, whether knowingly or not, hilarious."

Nathan Johnson is so offensively constructed that we hope, as we read the world through his eyes, that the book will twist in a way that inserts some sort of ironic distance between the writer and his character; however, no such distance occurs, and so we are left to assume that no such irony is intended, which makes the experience of reading A Letter Marked Personal both unintentionally-funny and troubling. In an afterword, archivist Bill Dunn informs us that the title character of the book was a composite of Dunleavy himself, and a lingerie businessman he knew in New York. In other words, our wanting to give the benefit of the doubt and assume that this is an ironic portrait is probably a misplaced hope.