It’s as old as time: the breakup letter. The kiss-off. The Dear John. The big adios. Simple in its premise, stunningly perfect in its effect. From Anne Boleyn to Sex and the City writer/producer Cindy Chupack, from women both well-known and unknown, imaginary and real, the letters here span the centuries and the emotions—providing a stirring, utterly gratifying glimpse at the power, wit, and fury of a woman’s voice. In a never-before-published letter, Anaïs Nin gives her lover, C. L. Baldwin, a piece of her mind. Charlotte Brontë, in formal fashion, refuses the marriage proposal of Henry Nussey. In a previously unpublished letter, Sylvia Plath writes to her childhood friend and brief lover, Phillip McCurdy, expressing her wish to maintain a platonic relationship. And “Susie Q.” lets “Johnny Smack-O” know that she’s onto his philandering.
The brilliance of the mad missives, caustic communiqués, downhearted dispatches, sweet send-offs, and every other sort of good-bye that fills these pages will surely resonate with anyone who has ever loved, lost, left, languished, or laughed a hearty last laugh.