‘Address Unknown’ by Kathrine Kressmann Taylor

I must acknowledge that I’m not terribly well read in older fiction, so I often end up plugging holes in my reading history at random. This was one of them: an epistolary tale I knew nothing about, but which I found very powerful. Max, a Jewish American gallery owner, and his friend and business partner Martin correspond after the latter has returned to his native Germany in 1932. At first, Martin is uncertain what the future under Hitler will bring, but his attitude soon hardens and he instructs Max to stop writing. We then see the friendship twist and strain, as Taylor brings together the personal and performative aspects of letter writing in a concise, taut dance.

(First published in Story magazine in 1938; read in the standalone Souvenir Press edition)

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