Accessibility Tools

  • Content scaling 100%
  • Font size 100%
  • Line height 100%
  • Letter spacing 100%

The ouch in the kicker

by
June 2013, no. 352

Here and Now: Letters, 2008–2011 by Paul Auster and J.M. Coetzee

Harvill Secker, $27.99 pb, 248 pp, 9780571299270

Book 2 Cover Small (400 x 600)

Distant Intimacy: A Friendship in the Age of the Internet by Frederic Raphael and Joseph Epstein

Yale University Press (Inbooks), $39.95 hb, 347 pp, 9780300186949

The ouch in the kicker

by
June 2013, no. 352

The recent publication of Willa Cather’s letters caused a stir in the United States. The American author, surprisingly underrated here, had explicitly and repeatedly said she did not want her letters made public. Some believe her wishes should be respected; others say the demands of history are greater than those of a long-dead individual.

This, of course, points to part of the allure of reading the private letters of famous people. Through them, we glimpse multiple facets of personalities that have been airbrushed by publicists: the grumpy and the affectionate, the outrageous and the encouraging, the truly intelligent and the superficially smug. We get flashes of insight into political and artistic decision-making and delicious celebrity gossip. Half of it would be actionable if everyone involved were not already dead.

Miriam Cosic reviews 'Here and Now' by Paul Auster and J.M. Coetzee and 'Distant Intimacy' by Frederic Raphael and Joseph Epstein

Here and Now: Letters, 2008–2011

by Paul Auster and J.M. Coetzee

Harvill Secker, $27.99 pb, 248 pp, 9780571299270

Book 2 Cover Small (400 x 600)

Distant Intimacy: A Friendship in the Age of the Internet

by Frederic Raphael and Joseph Epstein

Yale University Press (Inbooks), $39.95 hb, 347 pp, 9780300186949

Leave a comment

If you are an ABR subscriber, you will need to sign in to post a comment.

If you have forgotten your sign in details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to ABR Comments. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.