Foreign Correspondence: A Pen Pal's Journey from Down Under to All Over

Geraldine Brooks, Author
Geraldine Brooks, Author Doubleday Books $22.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-385-48269-1
Paperback - 217 pages - 978-0-385-48373-5
Hardcover - 315 pages - 978-0-7862-1840-0
Ebook - 240 pages - 978-0-307-75533-9
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Growing up in middle-class Sydney, Australia, Brooks acquired pen pals from all over the world. More than 20 years later, after she became a foreign correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, she tracked down a few of them to see ""how they had been treated by history...and to get in touch with"" the child she herself had been. Brooks relates her search in this competent but unexciting memoir of her youth and what she knew of that of her pen pals. Two of these discoveries stand out: near Tel Aviv, she finds an Israeli who initially doesn't remember writing to her and when he does, he wonders why she has bothered to find him; the other, an Arab, living not far from him, is so warm and outgoing that Brooks feels he has ""humanized the Arab world"" for her. In New Jersey, she learns that one of her pen pals is dead but is welcomed by her mother; in a village of the Vaucluse, in France, one of her favorite correspondents has become a settled matron; in Manhattan's East Village, she discovers that another has become a nightclub owner. In the end, however, they remain people of more interest to Brooks than to the reader, who may find the journeys more intriguing than the arrivals. (Jan.)
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