“Love in Small Letters” by Francesc Miralles was the second translated book I read this year and it came to me just by sheer chance, as most of the incidents take place – by chance. This book will make you believe in love and everyday magic. It will make you a hopeful person if you are not and a more hopeful person if you are. The book spoke to me like all the other books I have loved immensely. I picked it up because it had been lying around for a week and I really wanted to read it, so there you have it: A book that made me smile, think and also cry at the end.
“Love in Small Letters” is about an ordinary man, named Samuel. It is about a New Year’s Day and how it changes everything for Samuel and the life that he has known is about to go elsewhere, in another direction – in a more serendipitous direction. It all begins with a cat that came unannounced on his doorstep and he fed it some milk; a neighbour who he has never met makes an appearance and he starts caring about him, another stranger at a bar with a manuscript under his arm at all times and how he gets to know and help him, and a girl he loved when he was a child and when he sees her unexpectedly at a traffic signal.
All of the action takes place in a span of week. Everything is surreal and sometimes it is good for us to know as humans to let it leave it to faith or a higher power. More than anything else, the story is set in Barcelona, which gives it its own charm.
Miralles’s writing is simple and profound. It does not get preachy at any point. He makes it too easy and so emotional at the same time, without it being too sentimental and boring. The translation by Julie Wark is as simple and enriching. The essence of the book is in its title which comes from this passage in the book, and happens to be my favourite:
“Love in small letters?”
“It’s when some small act of kindness sets off a chain of events that comes around again in the form of multiplied love. Then, even if you want to return to where you started, it’s too late, because this love in small letters has wiped away all traces of the path back to where you were before.”
This is the essence of this wondrous book. Maybe no one has heard of it. Maybe very few people will. But all I can say is that you have to read this book to feel good about the world and life, about love and friendship, about chances in life and sometimes things we do because they must be done. “Love in Small Letters” is a book that will make you sing. It is a book that will make you believe in the moon, the stars and everything beyond our imagination. It is also a book that will make you see things and people, differently. Read it.