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What a pleasure, and a pleasure that 'proper' company would call uncivilised, invasive, even a violation. We get to handle the mail of 2 people who meet as if by magic. Every detail feeds and informs the mystery: the 2 stamps on the first letters just like anyone would have to do when finding out exactly just how much this letter costs to post to this other destination. I just revelled in the pleasure of handling their mail and contemplated their histories with 3 dimensional curiosity. "Lush!" as a person I know would say, a person I only know by voice over the phone, as mysterious as the characters of the book. Disembodied 'voices' which in merit of the format are convincingly real. Letter writers who continue to put pen to paper in this day and age will engage in the sensual nature contained in this package of sentiment.
*This is a review for the entire trilogy.* *spoilers ahead*
When my friend gifted this set of books to me, I was awed simply at the design and presentation of the book. The concept was so unique, and new to me, that it blew me away. I kept staring at the book and the art till my eyes ached. I love and appreciate art, though I can't claim to understand every artwork I see. Possessing a hardcover book with so much art in it added to the overwhelming feeling. And then I started reading. The epistolary is a voyeuristic genre, but this book takes voyeurism to another level. The act of actually picking up another's letter from its envelope and reading is just one of the levels. The artwork of both Griffin and Sabine is not just decorative - it is an intensely private pathway to their minds; it gives insight into their psychological states, and adds another layer to the story. Art is like that - deeply personal and public at the same time. As for the story, the ending left me confused. However, I'm trying to make peace with it. I have two takes on the end. One is that Griffin and Sabine found each other, and since they no longer needed to view each other through dreams and visions, they started seeing works of someone else. But why that someone is a doctor and why an artist is having visions of prescriptions, I am not clear about. What strengthens my idea that they have been brought together is the fact that the last letter uses the plural 'we' and the stamp is the first painting that Sabine asked Griffin to send her. The second idea I have is a little weak and has a lot of gaps. I think Griffin was a patient of severe multiple personality disorder and had been sending those letters to himself (how from different parts of the world each time, I can't justify). Finally, he made peace with the personalities, having made them meet each midway, which got things sorted in his head somehow. Maybe he actually started getting visions after this, and he starts connecting with Dr. Matthew. (Yeah, I know this one doesn't sound a strong enough argument.)
Cercavo questa interessante trilogia epistolare di Nick Bantock da tempo, ma purtroppo non è mai stata edita in Italia... poco male, perchè tramite il marketplace ho trovato tutti e tre i volumi a un prezzo assolutamente irrisorio, potendomi dunque concedere uno di quei piccoli grandi regali in grado di raddrizzare le giornate più storte. Lo consiglio in particolare a chi apprezza la letteratura ergodica, in questo caso di carattere epistolare...
This jewel of a fiction is pure delight - Copyright 1991 by Nick Bantock, it may well be of ANY year as it arouses flights of fancy intertwined in the correspondence so graphically shown in the pages of this book. Legendary Illustrator Bantock once again shows his skill to create a compendium of correspondence enclosed in actual envelopes where we pull out the letters as if discovering their contents from a confidential bundle wrapped in ribbon stored in the attic. Lovely !
Nice book, nice story, fun to read and great as a present.
Opening and reading the letters in the book is a fun idea and the story fits. It is fine as the only book. If you like it, the story goes on and develops furthers. Just read the last book of the series. Liked it.