The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters: A Novel - Elisabeth Robinson

"The True And Outstanding Adventures Of The Hunt Sisters" has one of the best opening lines I've read in some time:

"I was sitting at home, working on the 4th draft of my suicide note, when I got the call."

This set the tone for a novel that combines brittle wit with deep sadness and a refusal to give in.

 

It provides an arresting start to a novel which, in the form of letters from Olivia Hunt, a young Hollywood producer with theoretical suicidal tendencies, tells a story of family and sickness and love against a background of Hollywood and Cervantes.

 

Along the way there is a lot of laughter and, in my case, more than a little weeping.

Robinson breathes fresh life into the traditional but now slightly archaic form of a novel as a set of letters. At first I found the form unsatisfying: not as intimate as a first person account and inherently light-weight, perhaps because it reminded me of the Adrian Mole books. Before I reached the middle of the novel, I' was completely hooked on the letters as a device for getting many intimate views of Olivia Hunt and her interactions with others.

 

This is not a great classic of American literature, nor is it a tongue-in-cheek telling of the adventures of two sisters but it is an addictive read about real-life challenges that I found myself eager to get back to.