Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Letters are Back

Correspondence is back in a new guise as e-mails that weave into fictional narrative much the way letters used to intervene in the plot. This thought sent me searching for my copy of that revelatory (to me, anyway) book from 1991, which we keep as a crossover in the teen section at Kepler’s:

Griffin and Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence
By Nick Bantock
Told through gorgeous, puzzling postcards and letters that you must remove from their envelopes to read, these books are as lush and beautiful as the best graphic novels , as romantic as an Austen period piece and as beguiling as a ghost story.

Griffin lives a lonely existence designing artistic postcards in London. He receives a card from Sabine, a woman on a faraway Pacific island, who claims to be able to “see” his art as he is creating, or destroying it, alone in his studio. "I share your sight," she writes and over their correspondence she details drawings no other person has ever seen or decisions Griffin has made in his creative process but that are invisible in the finished piece.

As their correspondence grows intimate, Griffin’s awareness of the bleakness of his life deepens. Griffin and Sabine’s words begin to ache with an urgency to see and know one another. Unless of course, this proves impossible should one be the invention of the other.

To piece together these letters, to hold them in my hand, still tingles with the voyeuristic thrill of discovering something very, very private.

Reviewed by Vivian


Christina Lee said...

OMG one of my favorite book EVER!!! it is sitting on my shelf as we speak!

Vivian said...

I think it's ready for a comeback. Lot's of young people have never heard of it and woudl just love it.

smilinggreenmom said...

I LOVE this too! My sister in law bought me a few awhile back and I never got to finish it....it really is AWESOME! smilinggreenmom