‘Correspondences’ by Ben Greenman
“Correspondences” by Ben Greenman (Hotel St. George Press: $50, 250-copy limited edition) is a beautiful, letterpressed, book-like object containing seven short stories that literally unfold before you. The case is earth-colored cardboard with a wine-red sleeve, almost like a box of stationery. The first story, “What He Was Poised to Do,” is revealed as you open the case; the text includes numbers corresponding to postcards the characters write to one another. You might expect to find those postcards inside; instead there is a blank one there, inviting you to fill in one of those from the story. This is a challenge, because Greenman’s writing is wonderfully intimidating, bountiful yet compressed; one willing lover is “like a penny rolling across the floor.” Maybe you ought to read the other stories first? Each story involves letters -- to lovers, friends, a daughter -- but few correspondents hope to receive anything in return. Yet one story is set on the impossible border of India and Australia and focuses on a karmic boomerang business (talk about karmic return). The enclosed stories are printed on opposite sides of accordion-style inserts -- “Hope,” for example, is a story that is paired with another that has little, a reminder that correspondence is a kind of relationship, connection. “Correspondences” is a gorgeous collection of short stories, integrated in its content and construction, yet unfinished; it waits for your postcard to arrive.
-- Carolyn Kellogg
Get our daily Entertainment newsletter
Get the day's top stories on Hollywood, film, television, music, arts, culture and more.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.