When I was a little girl, just finding my way around letters, words and reading, I stumbled on a stack of letters exchanged between my mother and her boyfriend of early days. Looking over my shoulder and with butterflies in my stomach, I was eager to know what two people would write to each other that is worth keeping years and years after. I don’t remember much about those letters, 20 somethings years later, I don’t even know if I managed to decipher the hand writing, but I still have a vivid image of the stack of letters tied with a ribbon and a weird curiosity to know what people write to each other.
The forbidden delight of opening somebody else’s mail is just one of the reasons I loved Griffin and Sabine’s extraordinary correspondence, turned into 6 collections of illustrated postcards and letters by Nick Bantock.
The story follows the lives of Griffin, London based illustrator with a boring, ordinary life, and Sabine, a stamp illustrator living on an exotic, yet fictional island. When we make their acquaintance, Griffin has never met Sabine, yet she knows all about him, his loneliness, his troubles, his art. The story unfolds in a series of heartwarming letters that you can actually take out of envelopes (with butterflies in the stomach) and beautifully illustrated postcards.
The combination of writing and image that Nick Bantock creates in this beautifully illustrated and moving love story is only enhanced by the magic that letters and postcards have over most of us. It might be a quick read (since you don’t want to be caught going through mail that doesn’t belong to you), but please stop and notice all the details in the postcards, the scribbles on the sides of the letters, the stamps. From time to time, you might even stop to wonder what it would be like to have such an intense and wonderful correspondence with someone you don’t know, but knows everything about you. I did.
Nick Bantock’s art for sale on Etsy (including preliminary sketches for Griffin & Sabine’s story)