* Prices may differ from that shown
John Berger's From A to X tells the story of lovers A'ida and Xavier. The book is told through letters written from A'ida to Xavier, with some replies from Xavier written on the back of them. Xavier has been imprisoned for alleged political activism, and this is a story of a couple's love and rebellion in the face of political oppression.
Berger writes in the style of the vignette, giving us snapshots of moments in A'ida's present-day life and also the couple's past. His use of language is exquisite: delicate and beautiful. Sometimes the letters seem as if they are written in code, and the small bits of information we gage about the couple through A'ida's carefully-chosen words can confuse the reader. We don't have a timescale for the exchanges, nor do we know whether the letters are in chronological order, or where either character is based. The lack of location adds to the mystery of the novel as A'ida is clearly in foreign lands- some of her terms of endearment for Xavier are written in what looks like another language. But rather than frustrating the reader, all of this adds to the enigma of the book and makes the story all the more compelling to read.
From A to X touches on various themes of humanity, including loneliness, oppression and patience. Above all though, I would say that A to X is about love: A'ida and Xavier's unwavering, imprisoned love for each other, and their unrealistic, but beautiful hopes for the future. From A to X tells a very moving tale through beautiful language use, and it left me reeling in many ways when I first read it.
The book costs £12.99 new, which is pricey but worth it I think as it is a book to treasure, reread or pass on. There are also cheaper second hand copies available online.