Author: Jan Morris
Details: (c) 1985 Jan Morris; Pub Vintage Books 1989; ISBN 0-394-75564-2
Verdict: Last letters from Hav is original and rather touching.
Reasons for reading it: papersky raves about it, and perhaps even more impressively, so does Le Guin. I also had the idea in my head that I had enjoyed some YA or children's books by the same author, but I think I'm possibly muddling her with Jan Mark (I have a slightly risible habit of picking up books by authors who share a first name with other authors that I like).
How it came into my hands: When I visited rysmiel in Montreal, it was on a shelf of duplicate books to give away.
Hav isn't really a novel, it's pure setting. But it is close enough to being story-like to satisfy the kind of reader that I am. And the setting is really very good indeed, and the narrator's tone is endearingly wry. It's clever and playing with where its frame is, but never too pretentious. And it's a little short novella so it doesn't get boring as a longer novel might if it were so light on plot. I found the rather abrupt ending extremely poignant; the book had drawn me in to being rather attached to Hav.
It's pretty much not like anything else, but well written. And I agree with Le Guin (ok, you'd have to be pretty foolhardy to disagree with Le Guin) that it's saying something about the real world, it's not just an abstract exercise in world building.