Kiss and tell

John Ryle

  • Which of Us Two? The Story of a Love Affair by Colin Spencer
    Viking, 258 pp, £15.99, May 1990, ISBN 0 670 83076 3

The fascination of other people’s letters and diaries lies in the fact that what seems most private in us is what we have most in common. This is also one of the discoveries of love: love letters, therefore, are over-determined in their revelatory banality. The intimacies of others may be embarrassing, but they can never be entirely uninteresting. They put us in mind of our own secret memories; we measure our experience against theirs. And if the sentiments ring true, we steal the words.

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