Special Delivery by Iselin C. Hermann


Special Delivery by Iselin C. Hermann

Danish Fiction

Translator – G. Forester

Original title – Prioritaire

Source – Personnel copy

The other day Alan was asking about modern Epistolary novels ,I of course mentioned Love virtually and its follow-up Every seventh wave two of my favourite epistolary novels .But in the back of my head I had a nagging thought that I had recently brought another epistolary novel and so I had it was this one so looking for something short to break up a run of long novels I choose to read Special delivery .Iselin C hermann is a Danish writer that studied the Theatre at university and then moved into working at a publishing hose specialising in art books ,then in 1998 became a full-time writer .This book was her début novel and she has since written ten other novels .

Delpine Hav

I was very pleased to get your post card .

I was pleased because I know that feeling exactly .A particular poem by Walt Whitman does the same to me ,and so do some of Beethoven’s late sonatas .I’d go so far as to say that at the same time as I feel I own these things ,not that anyone can own them ,I have a feeling that the piece of music or the poem in question has been created specially for me .

The opening of Jean-Luc first reply to Delphine

Well the book starts with a young Danish girl Delphine writing to a French artist called Jean-Luc Foreur .She says she may not own the picture ,which she saw in a gallery in Paris but she says “the picture is mine” out of the blue she gets a reply and thus starts a correspondence between the two .This exchange of letter is like a slow blossoming of a flower the letters get more and more sordid in their town .Now Jean-Luc is married and is middle-aged ,his letter are spaced ,Delphine is a youngster (here aged is never fully revealed but the is a letter where she writes what she can and can’t do due to her age , but  I would have said she was between 19-22 ,she loves writing to Jean-Luc one can almost see her letters as  young girl just coming to realise who she is as a women .Jean-Luc on the other hand is hard to read as a person , via his letters who he really is he tells Delphine how much he wants her but in doing so rarely lets her other than little glimpse know a lot about his life . They are drawn towards a meet  after 18 months of writing to each other ,but at this point Jean-Luc seems reluctant ,then we have the huge twist at the end !

Thinking about you is a pleasure and a curse .And I think “I am wasting my time missing him ” or “Does one miss most what is impossible and what is unattainable ?” But I also think :”The real waste would be to go without him and what he does to me ”

An extract of a later letter where you see Delphine’s feeling have grown somewhat for Jean-Luc

Now I love the books Meike does for Peirene ,well this would have been one they would have done for sure it is one of those Novellas it 126 pages but feel much larger than that.What is at its heart is the paths love and attraction can run .Can a couple of fall in love without ever have met or seeing each other ?   It maybe shows how we can trust too much at times although this is an exchange of letters it brings up the current use of Facebook and messengers and young women talking to men that may not be all they seem .To me this book should be a modern classic it is just perfect and although I ve decide against scoring books this one would be a 10/10 for sure .A great take on the epistolary form one that maybe should be more widely used even these days as so much of what we communicate isn’t face to face but in the form of messages ,tweets ,e mails and via Facebook .

Have you a favourite Epistolary novel ?

Have you a favourite Danish novel ?

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. naomifrisby
    Aug 15, 2013 @ 12:11:38

    Sounds really interesting. I like epistolary novels although I’m not sure I’ve read that many – Nicola Barker’s ‘Burley Cross Postbox Theft’ is a good one though; very perceptive on English small town life.


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August 2013


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