Letters to Helen Keller
From Library Journal
This is not a collection of letters received by Helen Keller (1880–1968). The letters are real, but they were all penned and then retained by Kleege, who is herself blind. Deeply familiar with the canon of works by and on Keller, Kleege chose the epistolary format as a way to handle her fascination with and ambivalence toward a woman who remains the paradigm of the high-functioning and near-saintly blind and deaf person. By any measure, Keller led an exceptional life—a life, says Kleege, that presents a near-impossible standard for other blind people to follow. Kleege reckons with Keller’s life, seeking the hidden backstories to particular episodes, and, with unstinting self-honesty, tries to understand her own need to create “this weird, contrived correspondence.” Contrived it may be, but it is never weird, and it is utterly absorbing, both in its graceful renditions of particular days in Keller’s life and in the author’s self-analysis along the way. Kleege is a gifted writer—her description of Keller’s final day is wondrous. This book has a cumulative power, and the reader—whether or not already familiar with Keller’s life—will become deeply moved. All libraries should add this to their collections. Highly recommended.
—Margaret Heilbrun, Library Journal
Georgina Kleege is a lecturer (SOE) in the Department of English at the University of California, Berkeley.
Print Edition: ISBN 978-1-56368-295-7, 6 x 9 paperback, 224 pages
E-Book: ISBN 978-1-56368-371-8