29 November 2009

200 word review: 'Four Letter Word: New Love Letters' edited by Rosalind Porter and Joshua Knelman

I borrowed this book from my local library mainly out of shock that they had it –a few months ago, I read an article about it in The Big Issue so I was surprised to see such a current book. It’s a collection of fictional love letters from modern authors, some more famous than others but all with excellent literary credentials.

The problem with collections like this is that there are always bits you love and bits you hate. Some of the letters really caught me – some were endearing in their innocence, others deeply moving, and others simply entertaining. But there were a few that were just a bit, well, smutty for my tastes. Maybe I’m a prude, but a number contained crass references which didn’t seem to have much to do with love.

The variety of letters represents well the depth and diversity of love. There were examples of love for someone (or something) other than a lover. Many letters expressed the pain of love gone wrong. Some were historical, others current (one based on Hurricane Katrina almost had me weeping on a commuter train). Overall, this is a generally enjoyable book which effectively shows all areas of love.

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