Griffin and Sabine by Nick Bantock

I first discovered the book about fifteen years ago. Griffin and Sabine came out in 1991. The other two books in the trilogy, Sabine’s Notebook and The Golden Mean, were released in 1992 and 1993. The wonderful part is that the books are timeless–you can have read them back in the 90’s or read them now or read them a hundred years from now–they would still be amazing.

The basic story is of a written correspondence and relationship between Griffin and Sabine. I’m not going to tell you anything about the story–because it is best discovered like a lost friend–but I will talk about the design of the books.

The books are hardback and contain actual letters, and by that I mean they are pages inside envelopes and are physically removed for reading. The sensation is like sneak-reading someone’s private mail in the quiet, sun-dappled attic of a stranger. The letters are intriguing, mysterious, and beautiful. If all letters had been this intriguing, I doubt the postal service would be on the verge of extinction.

The art in the books is transcendental and completes the words of the story in the way only lovely art can. Go to your library or bookstore and just pick one up, flip it open, and try to put it down. The three books are like taking a peaceful vacation to a far-away place. Go ahead and take that vacation–you deserve it.

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