This is the fifth of 87 letters exchanged during World War II between Nicholas Salvatore and Elizabeth Galloway.
For more see Nicholas and Elizabeth.

On board ship with the Royal Navy

Tuesday, September 7, 1943

Back on the water

Elizabeth –

The Sun Also Rises. When I first read it – acquired it from a fat woman in a purple bathing costume – I must’ve been eight or nine I think. I remember because it filled the first shelf of books. It wasn’t for a number of years till I read it and several after that that it meant anything to me. I don’t know why. I normally read each book I got as soon as I could. I guess something in me wasn’t ready for it yet. You ever have that? Something that you can’t explain keeps you from a book, or place, or film and when whatever it is finally gets out of the way it’s at the exact time that you need to experience that book, or place, or film.

Those are funny things. Anyway, that’s how The Sun Also Rises was for me.

Do you know the first book I stole was Peter Pan? I couldn’t read yet but I loved the artwork. It was also the first book I learned to read. There was magic in the words. It was the only book I’ve felt bad for taking. Took it from some kid. Hope he got another copy because it was a bang up story. After that I only stole books from the rich. You know, the ones who like to look like they’re reading but have some terrible pulp novel hidden within The Brothers Karamazov? They never cared about those books.

Well, Lady Ashley, the fiesta awaits. Please tell me about you. You’re such a half-formed character. I’d love to know…well, anything really.

– Nicholas

Next letter – September 16, 1943