Sunday read: Meet Me at the Museum
I had two penpals when I was younger. Penpals? That’s a word I had to explain to my own Generation Z children, who only understand the world of emails and instant messaging. Every month I would receive a handwritten letter from Sylvia in Oldenburg, Germany, and Christopher in Paris, France.
The letters would arrive about two weeks after they were posted and I would respond immediately and it would take two weeks before they received my letters. A month – that’s how long it took to send and receive news between two people in different countries.
Today, of course, I am able to chat with cousins in Canada, colleagues and students in France, and friends in Australia – all in a matter of seconds. Technology has changed our lives.
Meet Me at the Museum is a fascinating take on correspondence between two strangers in different countries. Their exchanges happen via long-form email and they do remind me of the letters my friends and I exchanged all those years ago.
Tina Hopgood writes a letter to a man who dedicated a book to her over 50 years ago. She’s not expecting a response, but she writes anyway. What ensues is an ongoing exchange between her and Anders Larsen, the son of the man she was writing to.
Living in different countries, Tina and Anders identify with each other in some way. And so they continue writing to each other, gradually baring more and more of their souls to each other. Until suddenly, Tina stops writing.
Meet Me at the Museum is a story of two people finding each other by chance and communicating in ways they could not have imagined. The anonymity of a letter offers a safety net of sorts to share on a level they may not be comfortable doing otherwise.
- Meet me at the Museum by Anne Youngson is published by Doubleday.
- Read more about the books I love here.