List of contemporary epistolary novels

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An epistolary novel tells its story through correspondence, letters, telegrams, and the like. Here are some examples of contemporary epistolary novels:

Author Title of Work Year Format Other Comments
Fuentes, Carlos La silla del águila (The Eagle's Throne) 2002 Letters and diary entries Written as a series of letters between high-ranking officials in the Mexican government and persons aspiring to high office. The letters are being written (in 2020) because all telecommunications in Mexico have been disabled by the United States.
Adiga, Aravind The White Tiger 2008 Letters Written as a series of letters to "His Excellency Wen Jiabao, The Premier's Office, Beijing"
Ahern, Cecilia Where Rainbows End 2006 E-mail, letters, and notes
Ahern, Cecilia Love, Rosie 2005 Letters and emails
Atkins, Tracy R. Aeternum Ray 2012 Letters A series of letters chronicling an immortal man’s life from 1979-2216, forming a post-technological-singularity memoir
Avi Nothing But the Truth 1991 Dialogue transcripts, telephone conversations, letters, telegrams, diary entries, and memos
Bâ, Mariama Une si longue lettre (So Long a Letter) 1980 Considered a classical statement of the female condition in Africa
Bantock, Nick Griffin and Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence 1991 A series of letters and postcards
Barth, John LETTERS 1979 Letters from seven writers, some addressed to the "author", plus one will codicil
Bauer, Wolfgang The Feverhead 1967 Letters of two friends that cross all the time, ending in a mise en abyme
Beaumont, Matt e 2000 E-mail
Bellow, Saul Herzog 1964 Letters Real and imagined letters written by the protagonist Moses E. Herzog to family members, friends, and celebrities
Berger, John From A to X: A Story in Letters 2008 Letters Letters from A'ida to her imprisoned insurgent lover, Xavier
Bull, Emma and Steven Brust Freedom and Necessity 1997 Letters and diary entries
Cary, Kate Bloodline 2005 Letters, diary entries, and newspaper articles A sequel to Dracula and thus mimicks the writing format of Bram Stoker's classic novel
Card, Orson Scott Ender's Shadow Saga 1999 emails Each chapter begins with a correspondence between two characters with limited context, then segues into traditional narrative
Chbosky, Stephen The Perks of Being a Wallflower 1999 Letters
Chrostowska, SD Permission 2013 one-way correspondence
Cleary, Beverly Dear Mr. Henshaw 1983 Letters and diary entries
Coady, Lynn The Antagonist 2011 Monologic epistolary novel conveyed through increasingly unanswered email messages
Comeau, Joey Overqualified 2009 Job application letters
Coupland, Douglas Microserfs 1995 Diary entries maintained on a PowerBook
The Gum Thief 2007 Journal entries, letters, e-mails, writing exercises, and one work memo
Crumey, Andrew Mr Mee 2001
Danielewski, Mark Z. House of Leaves 2000 Fictional manuscript, letters, editorial footnotes, appendices, fictional interviews
Patrick Sheane Duncan Dracula vs. Hitler 2016 Fictional author's note, manuscripts, war dispatches
Dunn, Mark Ella Minnow Pea 2001
Ibid: A Life 2004
Echenique, Alfredo Bryce Tarzan's Tonsillitis 2001 First person narrative with letters
Elton, Ben Inconceivable 1999 Diary entries. Dialogic comedic novel about a couple trying to conceive. They each write their thoughts as a form of therapy to help them in this goal.
Fielding, Helen Bridget Jones's Diary 1996 Diary entries
Frayn, Michael The Trick of It 1989
Glattauer, Daniel Gut gegen Nordwind (German) 2006 Email E-mail correspondence between a man and a woman who fall in love despite never meeting
Hall, Katie and Bogen Jones The Closeness That Separates Us 2013 E-mails A dramatic love story across conventional and country borders between Lena and Ed, almost exclusively written as an exchange of e-mails between the two protagonists.
Handler, Daniel Why We Broke Up 2011 A letter Illustrated by Maira Kalman
Hanff, Helene 84 Charing Cross Road 1970 Letters Book, later made into a stage play and film, about the twenty-year correspondence between Hanff and Frank Doel, chief buyer of Marks & Co, antiquarian booksellers located at the eponymous address in London
Imlay, Gilbert The Emigrants 1793 Letters Letters between Gilbert Imlay and various contemporaries, contrasting the utopia of America with the degrading political and economic situation of Europe, with a love story and several other side plots
Ives, David Voss 2009 Letters
Johnson, Kij The Fox Woman 1999 Extracts from diaries
Kaufman, Bel Up the Down Staircase 1965 memos, notes dropped in the trash can, student papers, lesson plans, notes from students, and letters to a friend from college A classic mid-1960s portrayal of an urban high school that is a microcosm of the New York City school system that was also made into a film
Kellaway, Lucy Who Moved My Blackberry? 2005 Email Novelisation of the author's Financial Times column featuring Martin Lukes. Most emails are from Lukes himself, so the reader deduces the content of emails he is replying to.
Keyes, Daniel Flowers for Algernon 1966 Journal An expanded version of Keyes' 1959 short story of the same name. This book is the journal of mentally disabled janitor, Charlie Gordon, who temporarily becomes a super-genius during a medical experiment. Through changes in grammar and style, Charlie's mental rise and fall are presented.
Lessing, Doris Shikasta 1979 Letters and reports Presented as reports on the state of Earth's inhabitants, to a space-faring bureaucratic civilization, authored by one of their own members - Johor, the novel's narrator/protagonist—who incarnates into society to live among humans across several lifetimes in various eras of history. Part 1 of a 5-novel cycle Canopus in Argos: Archives.
Kimball, Michael Dear Everybody 2008 Letters, diary entries, and newspaper articles The unsent letters of Jonathon Bender, detailing his thoughts from 1966 to 1999
King, Stephen Carrie 1976 Traditional narrative fused with journal articles, interviews, AP ticker reports, and court transcripts
The Plant 2000 The story is told through various letters, and memos Unfinished
Kluger, Steve Last Days of Summer 1998 Letters, postcards, progress reports, and newspaper clippings. A series of letters during the 1940s between a twelve-year-old and a rookie baseball player
Almost Like Being in Love 2004 The story is told primarily through diary entries, newspaper clippings, office documents, letters, e-mails, menus, post-it notes and checklists, with only minor reliance on narrative.
Kostova, Elizabeth The Historian 2005 Letters Letters, excerpts from books and academic literature, and the narrator's reconstructions of stories told to her by her father.
Lardner, Ring You Know Me Al 1916 Letters Lardner's first successful book; written by "Jack Keefe", a bush league baseball player, to a friend back home
Lewis, C. S. The Screwtape Letters 1942 Letters Letters from a senior demon to his nephew, a junior tempter, on how to tempt humans into sin, and how to contain the damage when things go wrong (i.e., the target human resists temptation or turns to God).
Lethal, Mac Texts from Bennett 2013 Text messages "A family story for the twenty-first century, based on the phenomenally popular Texts from Bennett Tumblr blog, this epistolary novel chronicles the year that Bennett and the rest of his freeloading family moved into his cousin Mac's household" through text messages exchanged between Mac and his cousin Bennett.
Llewellyn, David Eleven 2006 Email Emails sent on a single day, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Lucas, Tim The Book of Renfield 2005 Diary entries, dialogue transcriptions A book about the character of Renfield from Dracula and thus mimics the format of the novel. Excerpts from Bram Stoker's novel are integrated into the plot
Marsden, John Letters from the Inside (Young Adult novel) 1991 Letter The story is told in the form of letters exchanged between 15-year-old girls, Mandy and Tracey, who begin writing after Tracey places an ad in fictional magazine GDY
Martel, Yann "Manners of Dying" (short story) 1993 Letter The book is presented as a set of different variants of an official letter that a warden writes to a mother of an executed prisoner named Kevin Barlow. In each letter both the exact details of Kevin's execution and the warden's reaction vary slightly
Mitchell, David Cloud Atlas 2004 Journal, letter, books (thriller, autobiography), interview transcript, oral history Nested narrative set across various time periods with each manuscript being 'read' at some point by the next narrator. Made into a film in 2012.
Monteilhet, Hubert Les Mantes Religieuses (The Praying Mantises) 1960 Made into a BBC television film in 1982
Le Retour des Cendres (Return From the Ashes) 1962 Made into a film starring Maximilian Schell in 1965
Morrison, Rodger The My Dearest Letters (short story) 2003 Historical Letters The book is presented as a set of love letters from a man, William, to a girl he meets on the street, Anne. Set in Antebellum New England, the book follows their developing love for each other in a very formal society. This work is monological with embedded poetry with both romantic and religious overtones.
Nabokov, Vladimir Ada 1969
Nieves, Luis López Voltaire's Heart (Spanish) 2005 E-mail
Nothomb, Amélie Life Form 2010 Letters Fictional correspondence between the author and a U.S soldier, reflects on how writing creates reality.
Oz, Amos Black Box 1986
Parks, Tim Home Thoughts 1999
Payne, C. D. Youth in Revolt 1993 Journal entries
Perlman, Fredy Letters of Insurgents 1976 Letters Deals with anarchist themes and relationships
Priest, Christopher The Prestige 1995 Letters and diary entries
Priest, Christopher The Islanders 2011 Gazetteer
Randall, Bob The Fan 1977 Letters and telegrams Deals with the subject of stalking, but was written years before it became a criminal offense; the title character, Douglas Breen, is shown, in his letters, to be an unreliable narrator and an erotomaniac who turns the blame for things he does onto others
Rice, Luane and Joseph Monninger The Letters 2008 Letters
Rushton, Rosie and Nina Schindler P.S. He's Mine! 2001 E-mail
Saint, H. F. Memoirs of an Invisible Man 1987 Narrative manuscript This entire novel is put forth as a letter or manuscript, the first-person narrative of the author/protagonist, written down and left for someone to find, to learn of what has befallen him
Salinger, J. D. Short stories about the Glass family 1953, 1961, 1963 Letters
Sayers, Dorothy L. and Robert Eustace The Documents in the Case 1930 Letters and police statements Some of the letters contradict each other, requiring the reader to decide which characters are more trustworthy
Shklovsky, Viktor Zoo, or Letters Not About Love 1923 correspondence with Elsa Triolet
Shriver, Lionel We Need to Talk About Kevin 2003 Letters This book consists of letters from Eva, the mother of Kevin, to her husband Franklin
Shteyngart, Gary Super Sad True Love Story 2010 Diary entries and Digital Communication Records The book takes alternating narratives through protagonist Lenny Abramov's diary and his love interest's "GlobalTeens" account (an instant messaging technology)
Smith, Lee Fair and Tender Ladies 1988 Letters
Snicket, Lemony The Beatrice Letters 2006 Letters and Notes The book is obviously meant to be humorous while at the same time explaining some of the mysteries surrounding the Baudelaires. The letters are between Lemony and Beatrice. Several of the letters (mostly from Lemony Snicket) tend to be very long and rambling; one goes on about his love for Beatrice for four pages. As in The Unauthorized Autobiography pictures and letters allow readers to guess about the author's life.
Steadman, Carl Two Solitudes 1995 E-mail
Stephenson, Neal and Nicole Galland The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O 2017 Diaries, emails, internal blog posts, government memos, handwritten notes, translations, Wikipedia entries
Stevermer, Caroline and Patricia Wrede Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot 1988 Letters "Being the Correspondence of Two Young Ladies of Quality Regarding Various Magical Scandals in London and the Country" (Set in a Regency England where magic works)
The Grand Tour 2004 Diary extracts and testimony "Being a Revelation of Matters of High Confidentiality and Greatest Importance, Including Extracts from the Intimate Diary of a Noblewoman and the Sworn Testimony of a Lady of Quality" (Immediate sequel to the work above)
The Mislaid Magician or Ten Years After 2006 Letters "Being the Private Correspondence Between Two Prominent Families Regarding a Scandal Touching the Highest Levels of Government and the Security of the Realm" (Takes place ten years after the previous two books)
Stoker, Bram Dracula 1897 Letters, diaries, dictation cylinders, and newspaper accounts
Tanizaki, Jun'ichirō Kagi 1956 Diary entries Made into the film Odd Obsession (1960) starring Machiko Kyō and Tatsuya Nakadai and La Chiave in 1983 by Tinto Brass, starring Frank Finlay and Stefania Sandrelli
Townsend, Sue Adrian Mole series 1982-2009 Diary entries
Wachs, Joseph Alan and Jason Alan Franzen Treehouse: A Found E-mail Love Affair 2009 E-mail, iPhone app A series of five iPhone apps by the design firm FORMation that present a set of emails allegedly found when restoring a corrupted hard drive
Walker, Alice The Color Purple 1983 Letters and diary entries
Webster, Jean Daddy-Long-Legs 1912 Letters following introductory narrative An anonymous benefactor sponsors the college education of an orphan girl, Jerusha (Judy) Abbott, with the provision she write him every month
Dear Enemy 1915 Letters Sallie McBride, the college room-mate of Judy Abbott of "Daddy-Long-Legs", is appointed Superintendent of the John Grier Home, where Judy was brought up. She writes about her doings to Judy, Judy's husband (now the president of the orphanage), and the Scotsman Robin (Sandy) McRae (the "Dear Enemy" of the title) who is the orphanage's doctor.
Wharton, Thomas Every Blade of Grass 2014 Letters interspersed with narrative and images A man and woman separated by a continent write to one another of their discoveries of the wonders of nature
Jones, Hunter S September Ends 2013 Diary entries, emails, chat rooms, an experimental pre-Pinterest board, letters, and poetry
Cabot, Meg The Boy Next Door (Boy, #1) 2002 Emails First in series of four books.
Cabot, Meg Boy Meets Girl (Boy, #2) 2004 Emails, letters
Cabot, Meg Every Boy's Got One (Boy, #3) 2005 Emails, letters, journal entries
Cabot, Meg The Boy is Back (Boy, #4) 2016 Texts, emails, journal entries
Kaufman, Amie; Kristoff, Jay Illuminae (Illuminae Files, #1) 2015 Reports, emails, texts, audio transcripts First in series of three books.
Kaufman, Amie; Kristoff, Jay Gemina (Illuminae Files, #2) 2016 Reports, emails, texts, audio transcripts
Kaufman, Amie; Kristoff, Jay Obsidio (Illuminae Files, #3) 2018 Reports, emails, texts, audio transcripts