As excited as I (always) am to receive free books through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program, I am ecstatic when I am lucky enough to snag whatever is newest from Pomegranate Books (especially when those books are Edward Gorey written/illustrated). I was particularly happy to have won a copy of Floating Worlds: The Letters of Edward Gorey & Peter F. Neumeyer.
This book offers a privileged glimpse into both the writing and illustrating process, and the personal relationship between two extremely witty men who hold each other in the highest esteem. I enjoyed reading about their collaborative work in creating the Donald books and learning how much each influenced the other's parts in the projects.
The juxtaposition of their whimsical ideas, words, and drawings with the humdrum realities of their everyday lives is captivating and comforting. I was glad to have the inclusion of facsimiles of a few of the wonderfully rambling letters and postcards, especially the fabulous envelopes that Gorey illustrated before mailing off to his friend. And the stoej-gnpf, that hybrid creature on the front cover that Gorey decided was part himself and part his friend, and became a secret symbol between them of their like-mindedness and collaborative magic.
But how does one review the personal correspondence between two friends, who just happen to be writers and artists? One doesn't. I have been merely eavesdropping, but the things I overheard were fascinating. I only wonder why they ever stopped. Thank you so much, Mr. Neumeyer, for sharing these letters with the rest of us.
While reading this book, I was reminded of another book I read (and loved) about two years ago, Words in Air: The Complete Correspondence Between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. I think I may have a new favorite book genre: collected correspondence (or whatever more eloquent title it may have).
Letter-writing must be in the air! If you are also a fan of reading and writing letters (be they addressed to you or someone else!), you must have a look over at my friend Annie's blog Scribbling Glue. You'll quickly get back in the habit.