Exquisite words is about done for 2011

Posted on December 5, 2011 by

But first, here’s the opening of Fiona Lehn’s The Last Letter.

The famous biologist Helmut Janvy stooped to collect the mail from his foyer floor below the mailslot, as he did each day. But on this particular morning, amidst the damp leaking in from the winter outside, he detected a scent he had known well years ago, one he hadn’t smelled since. He’d long given up trying to name the fragrance which resembled, more than anything, a summer storm: steaming earth, singed grosses, wind-whipped blossoms. He fell back against the wall as a wave of emotion washed over him. That scent! Had he imagined it? With trembling hands, he sifted through the pile until he found the source: a large, thick envelope bearing his name and address, several stamps from another continent, and the marks of travel. No return address. He inhaled. None needed.

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