The Letters of Ivor Punch by Colin MacIntyre is a novel set on a Scottish Hebridean Island (again, by coincidence like the last novel I read, thanks Universe for leading me there again). This one is a very different one. It tells of the letters of the elderly Ivor Punch and a whole mix of other characters who are somehow connected to the island which all turn out to be the descendants of the original Duncan Punch.
This novel is quite different from others I have read lately. It jumps between time settings (sometimes by over a century), and between characters. Sometimes this leaves you feeling a bit lost, having to flick back through past chapters and the chapter you are reading to try and follow who is connected to who and how it follows. There was also a line of text from another character in one of the chapters that I wondered if it was a mistake as that character didn’t feature in any of that dialogue, and then suddenly said a line when I thought she wasn’t even on the island.
The book was a relatively easy and pleasant read, once I got further in and could follow who the characters were rather than starting afresh each chapter. I like the way they seem to intertwine through the work, piecing together the history of the island (far better than the Island Historical and Archeological Society in the book!) and then in the end giving a connection to the author. The stories of the people give a lot to reflect on afterwards, and there are many sad and tragic moments throughout the characters’ lives (be it parental death, incestuous conceptions, or loneliness through lack of communication and connection with others).
Colin MacIntyre has a good way with words, it is an enthralling story with reflection on deeper issues.
The book has helped with reflecting on family connection and interrelation of characters in my own writing, as an illustration of it done in a less conventional way than typically read.