It is rare to come across an epistolary novel nowadays, even more rare when it comes to science fiction. In fact, I cannot recall any other in this genre. Driven by curiosity, I then ventured into reading “Dear Cynthia.”
The story is that of a man cloned after his death, which has been planted with all the memories of his previous life, travelling aboard a spaceship engaged in the exploration of space. During the travel, Max writes to the clone of his wife, Cynthia, who has chosen to pursue a different kind of life. Within these letters, on the one hand he recalls the past of their marriage, showing that he continues to love her in spite of everything, on the other one he describes the events on board the ship.
The idea, as I said, is certainly original, its development a bit less convincing. The story is nice, but it gives the impression of having been written with the simple aim of providing a light reading, like that of a novella and not exactly a novel. In fact, the plot is not very complex and the epistolary structure is not exploited at best to capture the reader’s attention. It must be said that it is a kind of narrative structure that is very difficult to develop effectively, since it gives much prominence to the feelings, but, being an anything but plausible science fiction novel (fact that distracts you a bit), it is difficult to identify with the role of the protagonist and fully understand his emotional dynamics.
At the end of the book I have not yet figured out why Max has decided to embark on this journey, only to feel more and more the nostalgia of Cynthia. Nor why the two characters, while been fond of each other, have not reunited. Not that such a thing is not understandable, but the author simply fails to go into that. At the same time it is not clear what the actual destination of the travel is. Throughout the book, the protagonist tells what happens on board, but not once he showed some of the places that the ship was discovering. Is it possible that in all those years she had not arrived near some noteworthy celestial body? It seems unlikely that she was travelling at random. There were many ideas that could be further developed and this has not been done.
Nevertheless, I did not at all regret having read this book and I think the author has the potential to produce writings of much more value.
Dear Cynthia on Amazon.com.