For those too lazy to read the post below, allow me to summarise the situation as it stands. I have received a postcard from Fiji, claiming that a book belonging to me – Eva Holubk’s latest poetry collection The Marmalade Jar – has washed ashore on one of their annoyingly beautiful beaches.
Those with good memories will probably recall that there were, to put it mildly, a few problems surrounding the publication of the book in question, most of which are detailed in this somewhat scurrilous report. Basically, all but a handful of the books were stolen by Holubk’s husband and taken I-know-not-where. According to a couple of unreliable eye-witnesses (one of which was blind) he tossed the boxes of books into the Thames on the same night he stole them. Others say that he burned them all. Still more claim that he ripped the pages into tiny shreds and baked them in a giant lasagne. No one really knows what happened.
What we do know is this. A few months ago a copy of the book turned up in a charity shop in Gloucestershire. Now this: a postcard from somewhat further afield. Ten thousand, one hundred and miles further afield. In Fiji.
The obvious question pokes its mole-like head out of the dirty ground. How might Eva Holubk’s book have found its way to Fiji? Obviously there are a range of possible answers; few of which are plausible. Here is a selection of some of the more likely ones:
Firstly, there is the possibility that the book never made it to Fiji at all: that the postcard is an elaborate windup, carefully designed to waste my time. I can already think of several mindless enemies who might have played a part. Secondly, there is the possibility that Holubk’s husband personally took the books, or a portion of them, to Fiji, or a nearby island (Tonga springs to mind). Thirdly, there is the possibility that he did indeed throw them all into the Thames and, against the odds, one of them managed to float all the way to Fiji (or was carried there by a literary-minded albatross).
In any case the postcard makes it clear that I will not be receiving this particular book back, making it hard to verify its existence or backstory. Still, this is fair enough: I held onto a copy of my own at the time and can barely squirm at the idea that somewhere in the South Pacific someone is trying to make head or tail of our best contemporary Estonian female poet. Of course, had they wanted to, they could have read Holubk’s work online a long time ago. But then a hard copy is always nice, isn’t it?