Style of Necessity

‘I’m sure Ribeyro knew this phrase of Paul Léautaud’s: “What I most like is literature that is written like a letter.” Léautaud was pointing to a style, the style of necessity. When we read other people’s letters, we are looking for a zone of necessity that is often absent in fiction. No clamouring narrators, no startling characters. In short, it does us good every once in a while to pause happily for a while on the steps that lead up to literature.”

Alejandro Zambra, Not to Read (trans. Megan McDowell)

Missing: twelve years of weekly letters written to my father from school.

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