Letter to a Stranger: Essays to the Ones Who Haunt Us
Letter to a Stranger: Essays to the Ones Who Haunt UsAlso available bargain edition
“Beautiful. The human condition is on full display in these glimpses of our essential connectedness. Perfect for our times.”
—Dani Shapiro, author of Inheritance
Sixty-five extraordinary writers grapple with this mystery: How can an ephemeral encounter with a stranger leave such an eternal mark?
When Colleen Kinder put out a call for authors to write a letter to a stranger about an unforgettable encounter, she opened the floodgates. The responses—intimate and addictive, all written in the second person—began pouring in. These short, insightful essays by a remarkable cast of writers, including Elizabeth Kolbert, Pico Iyer, Lauren Groff, Gregory Pardlo, Faith Adiele, Maggie Shipstead, Lia Purpura, Kiki Petrosino, and Jamil Jan Kochai, are organized around such themes as Gratitude, Wonder, and Farewell and guide us both across the globe and through the mysteries of human connection. Addressed to a first responder after a storm, a gambler encountered on jury duty, a waiter in Istanbul, a taxi driver in Paris, a roomful of travelers watching reality TV in La Paz, and dozens of others, the pieces are replete with observations about how to live and what we seek, and how a stranger’s loaded glance, shared smile, or question posed can alter the course of our lives.
Moving and unforgettable, Letter to a Stranger is an irresistible read for the literary traveler and the perfect gift for anyone who is haunted by a person they met once and will remember forever.
Colleen Kinder is an essayist and editor whose work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New Republic, National Geographic Traveler, Salon.com, and The Best American Travel Writing. She has taught writing at Yale University, the Chautauqua Institution, and Semester at Sea. A Fulbright Scholar, Kinder received her MFA at the University of Iowa and is the author of Delaying the Real World and the cofounder of the online magazine Off Assignment (OffAssignment.com), where some of the pieces in this anthology originated. Her website is colleenkinder.com.