by Simon Garfield - £9.99 Canongate Books Ltd (2022)
paperback ISBN 13: 9780857868619 | ISBN 10: 0857868616
Every letter contains a miniature story, and here are some of the greatest.
From Oscar Wilde’s unconventional method of using the mail to cycling enthusiast Reginald Bray’s quest to post himself, Simon Garfield uncovers a host of stories that capture the enchantment of this irreplaceable art (with a supporting cast including Pliny the Younger, Ted Hughes, Virginia Woolf, Napoleon Bonaparte, Lewis Carroll, Jane Austen, David Foster Wallace and the Little Red-Haired Girl).
There is also a brief history of the letter-writing guide, with instructions on when and when not to send fish as a wedding gift. And as these accounts unfold, so does the tale of a compelling wartime correspondence that shows how the simplest of letters can change the course of a life.
(Price & availability last checked: March 2022)