Books About Letters: "Postcard Stories 1 & 2"
This August we're so keen on the Book About Letters that we thought we'd be sneaky and talk about two! "Postcard Stories" Volumes 1 & 2 (2017 & 2020, The Emma Press) by Jan Carson are two flash fiction collections written by the author and posted around the world on the back of postcards. Um, hello! Sign me up!
Written between 2015 and 2016 Jan wrote some 500 postcards, a few of which were plucked and published here. Jan's stories are briefly gorgeous, playing with constructs of reality and form...all on the back of a single postcard. One reviewer, ( hint: it was me) said:
"Carson’s micro-fiction is a delight. In Postcard Stories 2 we are introduced to some 58 of Carson’s original 2015 stories in addition to more recent missives. Edited chronologically, the stories are numbered, titled with their location of inspiration and dated. The recipient’s name is included below the title, lending an endearing authenticity. Spotted throughout the slim volume are tasteful illustrations by the talented Benjamin Philips—as in the first collection—grey- and black-washed to bring Carson’s vivid worlds to life. Philips’s illustrations strengthen the nuance and character Carson presents in her brief yet poignant prose. With five years of material to choose from, Postcard Stories 2 is a well-presented selection by skilled editors of Carson’s brilliant way with words. Like sweets from a tin, these stories can be digested one at a time or all together as pure indulgence."
We often talk here at Flea Market Love Letters about the role letters and postcards play in connecting individuals -- particularly with the charity near and dear to our heart, From Me To You. From Me To You even ran a postcard contest this summer, soliciting donations of postcards from writers that will go on to be matched with individuals experiencing cancer. So it warms the heart to know that Jan herself returned to her postcard roots during the pandemic, reviving the idea of postcard writing to "isolated people and those on the NHS frontline". It's fantastic to see a form of stationery dating back to the early 20th century, remaining a staple in connectivity.
It's that time where we ask do these books pass the books about letters test? That's a resounding yes! A twist of epistolary and experimental these exercises in imagination are most assuredly letter literature cannon. When picking up volume 1 be sure to add volume 2 because once you start these stories you won't like to stop!
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Do you have a book in mind about letters you think I should read and review for "Books About Letters"? Let me know! Send me an email at email@example.com.