An anthology of short, intimate second-person essays by a diverse range of writers, each honoring a fleeting encounter with a stranger met while traveling that left a profound and lasting impact; with a foreword by bestselling author Leslie Jamison.
Sometimes it’s sweet, sometimes funny, sometimes just weird ... The book’s introduction starts by explaining, 'All writers have a peculiar devotion to strangers.' Colleen Kinder’s curated collection displays that devotion—a special kind of extroverted, artistic pull that makes even the introvert capable of fooling someone into thinking they are the most people-y of people persons. This artistic nature is evident in the latent poetry in each letter’s prose, refreshingly unique in voice from one to the next but all sharing a lyrical quality. Though it reads like the series of letters the title promises, Letter to a Stranger is akin to a travel book. Many of the writers’ impactful encounters happen while away from home and their letters are rich with culture, history, and delicious nuggets of local detail.
Writing groups looking for prompts to kick start their practice writings would be well advised to use the prompt Letter to a Stranger. This collection of writing demonstrates that through this process of short letters to passersby the writer thinks more deeply about his own life. In the process of reflecting on what a stranger meant to one, one reveals deep, perhaps hidden, truths about one’s own life ... This is a very interesting book and a great approach to thoughtful writing.
Perhaps one of the best features of this book is how the reader may discover a letter that evokes one response today and a new, different response on another day, making this a collection that can be read more than once and feel new each time. Readers looking for quiet contemplation as well as conversation starters will find equal satisfaction in these pages.