The Letter Opener

The Letter Opener by Kyo MaclearIt is 1989 and Naiko is working in the Unde­liv­erable Mail Office, a cav­ernous space that resembles a giant, con­gested pawnshop. Immersed in things lost and missing, she searches for clues to match unde­liv­erable mail with addresses, a job that allows her to achieve a sem­blance of order in a dis­orderly world. It is a shock, then, when Naiko’s co-worker Andrei, an enigmatic Romanian refugee who has become the unlikely object of Naiko’s fas­ci­nation, suddenly vanishes.

Naiko’s shifting under­standing of Andrei’s past becomes an opaque reflection of her own existence, and objects — from the pens hoarded by Naiko’s mother in her retirement home to the personal effects of Jewish women that Andrei’s grand­mother sorts through at Birkenau — become touch­stones for memories and meaning, loss and love.