Hey Harry, Hey Matilda

Rachel Hulin. Doubleday, $25.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-385-54167-1
In her debut novel, Hulin explores the complicated relationship between 32-year-old fraternal twins, Harry and Matilda Goodman, through their email correspondence. Matilda is an eccentric Brooklyn-based wedding photographer, and Harry is an English professor at a Connecticut university hoping to publish and procure tenure. The content of their emails spans their daily experiences, worries about the future, and memories. They share secrets—Matilda admits that she told her boyfriend that her twin had died; Harry confides in her after making an unethical move in his career—while avoiding other secrets. Their messages are often laugh-out-loud funny, as when Matilda recounts the weddings she photographs, and when they forward each other emails from their philosophizing, self-absorbed father. As the siblings meander through various topics, some messages seem superfluously detailed; however, this slowly leads to a disclosure that puts their correspondence into a different light. Visual cues seem integral to Hulin’s project—Matilda illustrates feelings with diagrams, and photographs separate each section. Though the narrative is constrained by the epistolary form, even when the twins prompt each other to write a scene “like a movie” or “like a story,” the book is an entertaining caper and a thought-provoking look at family, memory, and the complexities of love. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/17/2016
Release date: 01/17/2017
Compact Disc - 978-1-5247-5049-7
Hardcover - 978-0-385-54168-8
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