Great writers’ memorabilia are cherished as part of our cultural heritage, usually only after their death but in the case of Grunberg – himself not averse to a little contrariness – a lot earlier. Even so, the correspondence collected here that he conducted with Esther, a girlfriend of his youth, truly does assume the character of a monument because it (or one side of it) is here reproduced in its entirety – right down to the front and back of every envelope.
The tendency is to assess its importance – by analogy with the writer’s work – with a sense of irony. Yet this is a serious and loving project for which the girlfriend in question, herself a designer and publisher, put herself to a great deal of trouble. The boxed luxury edition has been given a counterpart in a simple popular pocket edition (priced to suit all fans) which the panel would have liked to see as part of the whole in a single submission.
The care and attention evinced by this book came in for much praise and are nicely balanced by the conspicuous lack of adornment.