In Rosalind Ziccardi’s debut novel, Sealed and Delivered, we never meet Rey. Or Paul. Or Steve. Or Annah. At least we do not meet them in any conventional narrative sense.
Yet this book of letters—for this is what Ziccardi has given us, from front to back—takes us inside the lives of each of its protagonists as we read the sealed and delivered lines that map their lives through tragedy, love, folly, wisdom, and the loss and rediscovery of a kind of moral sanity that makes sense of life when present. And leaves even well-meaning souls bereft and wandering by its absence.
Ziccardi’s Annah is at the center of her own constellation of relationships. Through Annah and her correspondents, the author gives us a profound—and ultimately breathtaking—series of letters by a woman as she finds her way from lateness to becoming found. Sealed and Delivered becomes a relentless, and serially insightful description of life as the wandering of frail creatures bent on self-destruction, yet bound for glory. Here are philosophy, theology, love, logic, tears, and resurrection.
The conclusion will leave you trembling.
Ziccardi’s novel is a book of letters in more than the obvious sense. It provides for us a kind of life’s body of work, in the way that the archaic ‘letters and papers of …’ once suggested of a human being who had finished life, career, or some other long course.
The author, a minister and a member of a career military family, has clearly taken in more than the obvious sights of a globally mobile life. She has listened long wherever she has landed, and then recast the rhythms she has heard into this remarkable collection of imagined letters. They speak, in the end, from beyond her protagonist’s grave.
For this reviewer, quite memorably.