Marcel's Letters

Marcel's Letters

A Font and the Search for One Man's Fate

Book - 2017
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An IPPY Gold Medal Winner
Paris Book Festival Winner
Finalist for the 2018 Minnesota Book Award

A graphic designer's search for inspiration leads to a cache of letters and the mystery of one man's fate during World War II

Seeking inspiration for a new font design in an antique store in small-town Stillwater, Minnesota, graphic designer Carolyn Porter stumbled across a bundle of letters and was immediately drawn to their beautifully expressive pen-and-ink handwriting. She could not read the letters--they were in French--but she noticed all of them had been signed by a man named Marcel and mailed from Berlin to his family in France during the middle of World War II. As Carolyn grappled with designing the font, she decided to have one of Marcel's letters translated. Reading words of love combined with testimony of survival inside a labor camp transformed Carolyn's curiosity into an obsession to find out whether he ever returned to his beloved wife and daughters after the war.

Marcel's Letters is the incredible story of Carolyn's increasingly desperate search to uncover the mystery of one man's fate during WWII, seeking answers across Germany, France, and the United States. Simultaneously, she continues to work on what would become the acclaimed P22 Marcel font, immortalizing the man and his letters that waited almost seventy years to be reunited with his family.
Publisher: New York : Skyhorse Publishing, ©2017.
ISBN: 9781510739079
Characteristics: 344 pages :,illustrations, portraits ;,23 cm.
Additional Contributors: Heuzé, Marcel 1912-1992.

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MaryJoSchifsky
Jan 09, 2019

Excellent topic; poor writing. Emotional, not evocative. Demanding, not enticing. Histrionic, over-wrought, breathless--all emotions provided, slammed onto the page. Not much room for my experience.
Immediately after "finishing" this book, I read this from Edward Gorey in the 12/10/18 NY: I"m beginning to feel that if you create something, you're killing a lot of other things. And the way I write, since I do leave out most of the connections, and very little is pinned down, I feel that I am doing a minimum of damage to other possibilities that might arise in a reader's mind".
Antihesis to this author's style.

JessicaGma Jun 19, 2018

A rather brilliant story about a woman who discovers old letters that inspire her to create a font, but then get sucked further into the fate of Marcel, the author of the letters. It's a really interesting story and you'll learn a lot.

r
rpavlacic
Mar 22, 2018

A delightful book about a woman's two tracked adventure. On one, she attempts to design an entirely new font based on handwritten letters dating to WWII. On the other, her search to discover the backstory of the letter writer, forced into labour under the Nazis; and finding out his fate as well as what happened to his family. Very fun to read, and the kind of book that makes you want to meet the author in person.

e
EmilyEm
Sep 15, 2017

A Twin Cities graphic designer who, has always known she’ll design a type font finds inspiration in some French letters she buys in a Stillwater, MN, antique shop. Admiring the writing, but not knowing French, she imagines they are love letters. The mystery of Marcel, the letter writer, leads her on an odyssey to discover his life story and design an award-winning type font that she names for him.

As a person who has worked in book publishing and is an avid genealogist this book had all the elements of a fascinating page turner for me. The local angle made it special; I knew the genealogist who helped her. Very fun.

c
cridge
Aug 04, 2017

The best book I've read in a while. Loved it!! I appreciated the author's honesty as she tells this story about her unexpected journey. You get a mystery, history, love, fonts!, family dynamics, a dog, and so much more, all rolled into one well written, engaging, superb book. Highly recommended.

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