A collection of correspondence that includes the original, a transcript, and a précis of the events surrounding the writing of each one. George Harrison took out a mortgage on his house to finance Monty Python’s Life of Brian. (I always knew George was the best Beatle.) Alec Guinness couldn’t remember Mark Hamill’s co-star’s name (Tennyson Ford? Ellison Ford?) when he was working on a film featuring new rubbish dialogue but with lovely bread. (I find his lack of faith disturbing.) A poisoned pen letter invites Dr. King to take his own life, sent him by the FBI. (No wonder half of it is redacted.)
Usher saved the best for last, a letter from Kurt Vonnegut telling his family he’s alive, although the Allies did their level best to kill him during the six months he was a prisoner of war. Slaughterhouse Five feels even more like nonfiction now than when I first read it in my teens.
By turns hilarious, chilling, and poignant and always fascinating, this book will leave you wondering if this kind of collection is the last of its kind, given that email has entirely subsumed our person to person discourse. But at least we have this one! Recommended.
Author and founder of Storyknife.org.