Review: Dear Thief – Samantha Harvey.

In the middle of the night, a woman begins to write a letter to an estranged friend, without knowing if she’s even alive any more. A letter of friendship, rage, self-defense – the letter revisits past betrayal, looking at what’s left of them.

In answer to a question you asked a long time ago…

Nina, nicknamed Butterfly, was in and out or the narrator’s life for years, but pushed things too far with an affair with Nicolas, her husband, before disappearing without an apology or goodbye. The letter is written over months, detailing the past, reflections that have developed over time, even things that had happened that very day.

The writing is really heartfelt and beautiful – letter writing is becoming a bit of a lost art, and when you have a decade to articulate your feelings, albeit rambly, this makes sense. It just reads really well, but there’s not a lot of plot in there.

Sure, the nostalgic feel of past hurt and reflection is nice, and it’s flits between loving memories and anger, a full range of emotions that make sense. She misses the good times, she’ll never truly let go some of the bad times – she’s never had the chance to really vocalise it all as she has now. The typical love triangle is given a history, how she saw it brewing, the actual event, then the destruction left in its wake.

The narrator uses this as a cathartic experience, but as an outsider it’s not overly grabbing, you know? Jealousy, betrayal, love, loss, friendship – it has its moments of pulling the heartstrings, but is overall lacking something.

Interesting idea, though. I don’t think I’ve read a book before that’s entirely a letter.


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