Thursday, April 25, 2019

Six great books of correspondence

Isabella Hammad was born in London. She won the 2018 Plimpton Prize for Fiction for her story “Mr. Can’aan.” Her writing has appeared in Conjunctions and the Paris Review. The Parisian is her first novel.

At LitHub she tagged six top books of correspondence, including:
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera (1985)

This novel is bursting with letters. In Marquez’s universe—as, arguably, in ours—romantic love is essentially literary, and lovers are readers and often also writers. Florentino Ariza falls in love with Fermina Daza when, while delivering a telegram to her father, he sees her teaching her spinster aunt to read. He woos Fermina with letters. He takes a job writing love letters for other people, channelling his feelings for Fermina Daza and sometimes, farcically, playing both parts on the side of an amorous exchange. Later on, he types his letters on a typewriter, numbers them and keeps carbon copies: Marquez is highlighting Ariza’s awareness that his letters might ultimately have a reading public beyond his beloved. Although Love in the Time of Cholera parodies romantic love and its conventions of courtly address, the novel ultimately constitutes a compelling, totally moving, and vivid portrayal of it.
Read about another entry on the list.

Love in the Time of Cholera also made Sameer Rahim's list of five essential works by Gabriel García Márquez, Jill Boyd's top six list of memorable marriage proposals in literature, the Christian Science Monitor's list of six novels about grand passions, Ann Brashares' six favorite books list, and Marie Arana's list of the best books about love; it is one of Hugh Thomson’s top ten books on South American journeys.

--Marshal Zeringue