Scar Letters is a unique story about gay life from a point of view that is very different from the mainstream or the “Gay Book” genre. The first few pages will startle you as the narrator, Rudy, recounts his horrific and brutal rape eighteeen years ago. As the story moves on it becomes a recounting of a lifetime of hurt and missed opportunities. You might say, “Oh, I couldn’t possibly read something like that.” But you ought to because the book is hard to put down.
Author Richard Alther has a real ability to bring to his characters real depth whilst mixing-in a bit of gay culture, philosophy, art and gardening with honest and sometimes brutal dialogue and situations. It is a refreshing style.
Scar Letters is full of memorable scenes and situations that are very, very real. Alther weaves a tale of the life of Rudy. As the narrator, he fears a loving relationship. He thinks it is not a real possibility but seeks to find one – and in the most unusual way. Through Rudy’s inner thoughts you can feel and understand his life even though it is so far removed from ones own. Rudy opens up his life to the reader in every aspect of his mind and thought. He attempts to give an understanding of what may be in store for him if he can just move beyond his self-inflicted but very understandable self-isolation.
To delve this deeply into a charactes mind and see the flaws, weaknesses, strengths and fears while recounting a horrific crime and still keep the dialogue and story enjoyable to the reader shows an author at his best. Like any good book Scar Letters will keep you wondering what will be the outcome until the last few pages. Enjoy Rudy’s introspection. New Jersey born author Richard Alther finds a way to make it well worth the effort.
Scar Letters by Richard Alther