Four Letter Word

Original Love Letters

Publisher: Vintage Canada
An inspired collection of new fiction from some of today’s most celebrated writers, exploring the charm, potency and seductive powers of a classic genre . . . the love letter.

When did you last receive a love letter? Have emails and text messages taken over from this romantic form of communication? Would a love letter by a novelist or poet be better than one written by you or me? How would the literary traits of a writer shape the love letters he or she writes? And might a love letter tell us something about its author their other writing could not?

Editors Joshua Knelman and Rosalind Porter have assembled an exciting and unique collection of new fiction: they’ve asked some of our most celebrated contemporary writers to explore the distinctive form of the love letter to remind us how enticing words can be and perhaps even to resurrect a dying custom. Each of the pieces in this anthology is radically different from the others, each is a testimony to the creative powers of our leading writers today, and each is guaranteed to seduce.

Four Letter Word brings us work from 35 of today’s best writers, including Margaret Atwood, Miriam Toews, David Bezmozgis, Douglas Coupland, Michel Faber, A.L. Kennedy, Audrey Niffenegger, Lionel Shriver, Jan Morris, Jeanette Winterson, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Joseph Boyden, Panos Karnezis, Jonathan Lethem, Graham Roumieu, M.G. Vassanji and Neil Gaiman.


From the Hardcover edition.

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Introduction

On 4 May 2000, I was one of millions of people to open an email with the subject ‘I Love You’ containing an attachment ‘Love Letter For You’. Launched by a Filipino hacker, the love letter virus ‘Love Bug’ first appeared in Hong Kong before quickly spreading to...
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PRAISE FOR

“A wonderfully varied exercise in creativity. Without doubt, love looks different in the 21st century: harder, more disposable, subject to the whims of the mobile phone and internet technology, which is ironically frequently referred to here. Love at its most sublime is expressed in short spurts, or through a filter of cynicism. This is not the collection for those in pursuit of screaming romance. . . . Ridiculously enjoyable. A true pleasure.” –The Guardian (UK)

From tales of rapture and repression to humorous exchanges between jilted lovers, the collection presents the reader with a kaleidoscope of ideas on how to approach the subject. . . . This is a seductive anthology which manages to appeal to the head as well as the heart.” Time Out (London)

“The calibre of the 41 writers who have contributed to this potent collection, from Margaret Atwood, Jeanette Winterson, and AL Kennedy to Michel Faber, Hari Kunzru and Neil Gaiman, is testament itself to our lingering fondness for this most seductive of genres. . . . Many of the letters are heartbreaking, crystallising into just a couple of pages the disappointment or pain that reverberates through a whole life. . . . This is a collection to dip into and savour. . . .” Scotland on Sunday

“Each [author] has written of love for every type of relationship, and for every exquisite shade of the emotion. Each letter is a short story, crisp and fully realised . . . [Josh Knelman and Rosalind Porter] have brought wit and passion together in [this] totally original collection . . . [U]nleash[es] the romantic in all of us.” –The Telegraph (UK)


From the Hardcover edition.