From A to X by John Berger

From A to X image

Published 2008 by Verso

‘From A to X’ was one of the most unconventional narratives I have had the pleasure of reading.

As I started it, I couldn’t help thinking that these abandoned letters between a political prisoner and his lover could have been written by anyone in a country that has experienced oppression. As the novel goes on, however, I realised that this was not the case – these two are unique in a touching love story that is both moving and tragic.

The letters are full of politics that we can all relate to, profound sentiments, and desperation – to be together, whether in the past or the future. As the reader, you almost feel voyeuristic in following their correspondence (although I found it very hard to stop reading), and I found myself desperate to find out more about these people and what they had endured (and it was not to be).

If criticism is to be leveled, it is on a single point – I occasionally found the letters from A’ida somewhat unconvincing as coming from a woman, something I justified to myself in that she is no ordinary woman. Don’t let this put you off.


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