SUMMARY: Set in January and February 1968, Unopened Letters from Dead Men is the story of a father and his two sons struggling to cope with their lives a year after the family matriarch was killed in an accident. Al Jr., the eldest son, enlisted in the Army after his father blamed him for the accident. The youngest son, Billy, is the best player on the varsity basketball team, and he has struggled with maintaining his enthusiasm to play.
The BookViral Review: Genre – War Story Fiction
A novel with tremendous emotional impact Unopened Letters from Dead Men proves a genuine literary gem as Regan takes us back in time amid the domestic turmoil of the Vietnam war. His narrative broadly focusing on the lives of Billy, Al Jr. and Big Al whilst at its heart lies the fundamental changes within Billy as he faces the stark reality of a country at war. His life becoming a series of confusions: lost direction, self-pity and angry confrontations which Regan approaches with merciless honesty.
Regan isn’t the first author to tackle his subject and he won’t be last and whilst there are countless traps similar authors have run into Regan falls into none of them. His story sneaking up on us with a series of incidents from daily life – moments that on their own might not lead anywhere in particular, but together blind-side us with their powerful emotional impact.
Given the backdrop to Regan’s novel, you would expect there to be tangible pain and suffering and he certainly doesn’t sugar coat it but it comes from a philosophical core and doesn’t rely on dialogue to convey sentiment. And on this level it is not a story about wounds or recovery, but about people coming to terms with loss and change, expectations and familial bonds.
A story that comes vividly to life and leaves an impression that lingers long after the last page is turned, Unopened Letters from Dead Men is recommended without reservation.