When Tina Hopgood writes a letter to Professor Glob, she is not expecting to receive a reply. She knows that he is probably dead as he would have to be over 100 years old now. Back in 1964 a group of girls including Tina wrote a letter to Professor Glob. He wrote a book The Bog people, who the girls were interested in, and dedicated it to them, one of whom was his daughter.
Tina, in a moment of contemplating things in life and opportunities missed, writes this letter to the professor more than fifty years later. She is particularly interested in the Tollund Man.
She is than quite surprised to receive a reply from the curator of the Silkeborg Museum, confirming that yes indeed Professor Glob passed away some time ago, but he then encourages her to come to the Museum to see the Tollund Man.
She whimsically replies to this letter, in what really is a bit of a waffle, about how her and her friend planned to go and see the Tollund Man, made plans and the time never seemed right until her friend passed away and she does not feel she could make the trip without her now.
Anders Larsen, the curator again replies to this letter and without either of them totally realising it, they have become, almost inadvertently, drawn into an ongoing correspondence.
As the correspondence continues, both start slowly exchanging more and more personal information and the buds of a friendship start to slowly open and bloom. More letters are exchanged, and a beautiful flower opens.
Through this correspondence, we start to learn more about both characters, their lives, their histories, their achievements, their regrets, as well as being a great way to build their backstory, their letters are also entertaining, always segueing into different anecdotes.
Inevitably, their feelings for one another grow deeper with each letter.
In this day and age when worldwide communication is quite easily accessible to modern countries, both Tina and Anders make a promise to each other to shun modern technology, and even when sending letters by email, they attach the “letter” to the email and then print it out. There is something beautiful and romantic about this agreement. By writing to each other in the old-style format of a letter, both are able to truly stop and think about the letter they have received and again stop, ponder and think on responses. Perhaps this is the reason they grow so close, never having actually met in person, because each of them has experienced the others deep and meaningful thoughts. Perhaps this is something that is missing from the modern social media crazy world. Do we really need to know that our best friend dropped their coffee on the way out of McDonalds, and then see a picture of it on Instagram, five seconds after it happened? Written words will probably not even be used it will just be a bunch of sad faced emojis.
I truly hope with every fibre of my being, that poetry, literature, love letters, casual letters, deep and meaningful letters in which you expose your soul to a friend will always have a place in our world.
A beautiful well written story. 4 Stars.
Anne Youngson worked for many years in senior management in the car industry before embarking on a creative career as a writer. She has supported many charities in governance roles, including Chair of the Writers in Prison Network, which provided residencies in prisons for writers. She lives in Oxfordshire and is married with two children and three grandchildren to date. Meet Me at the Museum is her debut novel, which is due to be published around the world.
There is a wonderul podcast here - https://topshelfatmerricklibrary.blubrry.net/2018/09/28/episode-twenty-interview-with-anne-youngson-author-of-meet-me-at-the-museum/