Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Letter Left to Me” as Want to Read:
The Letter Left to Me
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Letter Left to Me

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  50 ratings  ·  6 reviews
Joseph McElroy brings to life a startling story of loss in 'The Letter Left To Me.' Written by a father to his son almost three years before the father's death, the letter in question is discovered a few days after the funeral. Powerful and moving when the boy first opens the envelope, his father's sober words warn him against life's daily distractions.

'The Letter Left To
...more
Hardcover, 151 pages
Published August 12th 1988 by Alfred a Knopf
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Letter Left to Me, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Letter Left to Me

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 140)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
“This was something that stayed a secret for a while and then emerged from that unseen room into the public world, where it circulated, freely and openly, even though its true, undercover nature, its stolenness, remained concealed.” Ron Loewinsohn Magnetic Fields(s)

Joseph McElroy published The Letter Left to Me in the year following the publication of his massive Women and Men; the former a slender 152 pages, the later a massive 1191. Page count is not the only slendering found in Letter. The le
...more
Jonathan
Nov 20, 2013 Jonathan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jonathan by: Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Shelves: favorites
"He disappeared in the dead of winter:
The brooks were frozen, the airports almost deserted,
And snow disfigured the public statues;
The mercury sank in the mouth of the dying day.
What instruments we have agree
The day of his death was a dark cold day.

Far from his illness
The wolves ran on through the evergreen forests,
The peasant river was untempted by the fashionable quays;
By mourning tongues
The death of the poet was kept from his poems.

But for him it was his last afternoon as himself,
An afternoo
...more
Jimmy
It's interesting to read a novel by an experimental writer tackling subject matter that seems more suited for a writer with earnestly romantic sensibilities. Why is it so damn difficult to avoid mentioning the background of a writer such as Joseph McElroy? His prose; its elliptical opacity, its tendency to grasp everything at once, its introspective inquisitiveness, just seems to demand an explanation of sorts. This stuff clearly isn't normal. Stories do not read this way, even if it's a first-p ...more
Charles Kell
This is McElroy's shortest novel (152 pgs), following the sprawling Women and Men (1,192 pgs), and one that leaves the reader with a lonely ache--that momentary feeling of loss that you get after finishing a great, masterful work.

A young man is remembering an event--the sudden death of his father when he was a boy. It is a loss that might have been mourned and put behind him except for an odd event within the larger one: the receipt of a letter the father wrote him, to be opened after his death,
...more
Mike Polizzi
McElroy uses the long sentence to draw the reader in. The result is an intimate view of a young man's processing of his father's death. Hypnotic, beautifully observed and humane. He manages to dramatize the action while maintaining his character's dignity and proceeds along the quiet exposition of the thousands of small changes that make up a significant loss. Excellent.
M. Sarki
Sorry, but I did not think much of this title. Quite a bore actually. Little to be gained by reading it.
Shadrach Noble
Shadrach Noble marked it as to-read
Dec 12, 2014
Kinga
Kinga marked it as to-read
Dec 06, 2014
Nick Jirsa
Nick Jirsa marked it as to-read
Dec 04, 2014
Joseph
Joseph marked it as to-read
Dec 02, 2014
Bodhisatta Maiti
Bodhisatta Maiti marked it as to-read
Dec 02, 2014
Ernest Genesis
Ernest Genesis marked it as to-read
Dec 02, 2014
Josh Bratton
Josh Bratton marked it as to-read
Dec 01, 2014
rahul
rahul marked it as to-read
Dec 01, 2014
s.penkevich
s.penkevich is currently reading it
Dec 01, 2014
lyloster
lyloster marked it as to-read
Nov 21, 2014
Olwen
Olwen marked it as to-read
Nov 14, 2014
Devkrit Vasisht
Devkrit Vasisht marked it as to-read
Nov 01, 2014
Pete R.
Pete R. marked it as to-read
Oct 15, 2014
Rachel
Rachel marked it as to-read
Sep 15, 2014
Peter
Peter added it
Sep 11, 2014
Elizabeth
Elizabeth marked it as to-read
Sep 02, 2014
Bakunin
Bakunin marked it as to-read
Aug 27, 2014
Brandon Byrne
Brandon Byrne marked it as to-read
Aug 18, 2014
Jan
Jan marked it as to-read
Jul 30, 2014
Elizabeth Nunez
Elizabeth Nunez marked it as to-read
Jul 23, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Women and Men: Letter Left To Me -- 1988 10 25 Jul 11, 2014 08:03AM  
408289
Joseph McElroy is an American novelist, short story writer, and essayist.

McElroy grew up in Brooklyn Heights, NY, a neighborhood that features prominently in much of his fiction. He received his B.A. from Williams College in 1951 and his M.A. from Columbia University in 1952. He served in the Coast Guard from 1952–4, and then returned to Columbia to complete his Ph.D. in 1961. As an English instru
...more
More about Joseph McElroy...
A Smuggler's Bible Women and Men Night Soul and Other Stories Lookout Cartridge Plus

Share This Book