The Letter by Sean-Paul Thomas
When a quirky, anti-social, young woman with a phobia of other people, falls for her handsome new neighbor in the tenement block of flats where she lives, it is left to her new and only friend, an eleven-year-old girl, to play matchmaker, in this black-humored, adult tale.
Sarah is an incredibly antisocial loner, who despises other people, actively avoids any and all interaction with them. When I read this quote - Christ, she hated whistlers. Disrespectful folk that always tried to spread their pretentious joyful mood onto others by invading their peace and quiet and ear space with their annoying tunes. - I really thought I had found a kindred spirit.
Thomas soon makes it clear, however, that Sarah’s routines and methods are far from healthy, and that something isn’t quite right. His explanation for her behaviour is understandable, yet so sad. We immediately feel drawn to this tragic heroine, and begin to hope for her.
I found it strange that, despite wanting Sarah to recognise she needs some help, Thomas made me creep along hallways with her, heart in my mouth, desperation rife to ensure we met no one on those stealth missions. He really gets us inside Sarah’s head and let us understand it. It was masterful.
When Sarah notices a handsome new neighbour in her building, she turns into even more of a nervous wreck (and going by the description of this guy, I think we all would). She becomes obsessive, and with the help of strange little girl who hangs about the secret stairwell (which is Sarah’s route of choice for stealth missions), she writes handsome stranger a letter.
I thought this little story was excellent. The journey we go on with Sarah is fraught with obstacles, yet by the time we reach the end we can see a light of hope for her. Again, my only criticism comes from a place of greed - I loved this, and I needed more.