Zombie letters

So, yeah, I’m reading zombie letters {in all my spare time, bwah ha ha}.

Surprise? Maybe.  But you know, that’s just how I roll.  At least, when it’s about a catholic/zombie apocalypse!  That’s right, I’m that hip.

I’ve found the weirdly entertaining epistolary novel, “Ora et Labor et Zombies.”  And while I wasn’t expecting much; because really, Catholic, apocalypse and zombies??? How many things can go wrong with that? Right, that’s what I thought too.  But Julie sparked my interest with her review and so I clicked over.  I love the concept, it’s fun and different in an “everything old is new again kind of way.”  Ryan Charles Trusell has gone all in for his big idea of this little book.  I like that.  I decided to order just the first letter, just because I loved the concept. And, I figured I’d see pretty quickly if it was worth investing any time or money into.

So, first: the letter arrived quickly and was immediately engaging.  It made me want to read more.  Yeah, that surprised me too. I knew I was smitten by the actual form of the letter/book, the tangible hands on craft of it. The artist side of me was pleased by the hand printed cover to the letter, the font, the paper, the idea of it.   But I’m a reader above all, so I reserved my judgement til I started reading…and happily, the writing drew me right in!  Now, it’s an odd position to find myself in: I am charmed by the zombie letters.  Yes, now you know I’m a freak with very eclectic reading tastes!  I guess.  But I am, I’m anxiously awaiting each letter of this book in the mail. It’s fun.

The concept of an old fashioned epistolary novel so appeals to me!  You know I have a new appreciation for the art of letters now, after writing to my son in the novitiate for a year.    I have loved a number of novels written in letter form, it can be a charming device (or a mess.).   And, weirdly, this novel works.  You wouldn’t think, but it does. And you all know, that, for me, it’s the Catholic hook that draws me in and snares me.  But it’s not overloaded Catholic, if that makes sense.  It’s a natural weave of it (as Catholic is, truly, by it’s essence).  At least so far, I”m not finished yet and I’ll let you know if it falls flat as it wraps up.  But, it starts with a bang, with the husband, Tom, writing to his missing wife Ava.  The action picks up from there as the mystery of what is going on unfolds.  I would tell you more, but I am not finished yet, myself.

Now, let me say, this is a real book.  It is written in letters and arrives in  your mailbox, on real paper, via the postman, one to three letters at a time (your pick).  That form, this old fashioned way of reading a novel (think Dickens), is actually working for me right now with my overdrive swamped time of late.  I’m not tempted to ignore the kids and duties and just keep plowing on through the book (which I might do if I had the whole lot in front of me, I get sucked in that way.) Not a cheap read, either, to say the least.  This is what Mr Trusell has to say:

“ON PRICING:   Anyone who is both familiar with the concept of Ora et Labora et Zombies AND good at math has no doubt thought to themselves: $3/Letter x 72 = A Lot Of Money For One Book. 

  Believe me, I’ve thought it myself a few times throughout all the planning and number crunching leading up to its publication. However, the price of each Letter does include postage, and the quality of paper plus the 4-6 page length of each Letter require me to use a 65¢ stamp, this in addition to stationery and printing costs. 

  I think of it as providing a unique reading experience to people for the weekly price of one gallon of gas (maybe) or one cup of coffee (maybe)..”

I agree, it’s pricey….if you’re considering the book as a whole.  True.  But, again, consider it another way: it’s less than the weekly guilty pleasure of that latte and/or the grocery magazine.  It lasts longer and is supporting the arts, in another quirky and yet appealing way. My teen daughter was hooked with the first letter too, so it’s not just this old fogey who is having fun.  This is a retro and clever find in our pervasively digital world.  I’m surrounded by books, both E version and real spilling out of my bookshelves.  But this, this has it’s own original charm and pleasure to it.  I can support the small artist AND writer in an almost personal way…and have a fun read to boot.  What’s not to love?

So, how many things can go wrong with the idea of a catholic zombie apocalypse?  Too many to count.  How many things have gone right? The important things: it’s original, charming, pleasing to the touch and eye and engaging. A simple pleasure.  Fun times.  Zombies.  Who knew?

3 thoughts on “Zombie letters

    • rebecca, I didn’t! Just now looked and it makes me grin…that kind of meticulous artistic detail…just tickles me. Love the details…thanks for pointing it out! M


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