A Mysterious Book

In which The Author receives an unexpected delivery

(First posted on MySpace, 13 June 2007)

I got home from work tonight and there was a packet lying on the doormat. It was addressed to me and had a partial return address on the back. At first glance I thought it was a bundle of newsletters from the South Wales Anarchist Group. Then I realised that the return postmark wasn’t NP (Newport) but NG (Nottingham), so I opened it up.
Inside was a copy of The Embedding by Ian Watson, a book I first read a quarter of a century ago. I lent my copy to a friend some years ago, and haven’t seen it since. I’ve mentioned it to a few people since (including the person who borrowed it) but, like many of my books, it’s drifted out of sight. It was back in print briefly a few years ago, but I put off buying it because I thought I might get my own copy back.
Now, mysteriously, I have another copy. It’s not the same edition – mine was a Granada paperback edition from about 1981; this is a Quartet paperback edition from 1975. I’ve even done a reverse postcode search on the Royal Mail website, to no avail. I found the street and the house, but that’s where the trail ends. My brother’s ex-girlfriend is from Nottingham originally, but we don’t know where she currently lives, and as far as I know she doesn’t have my address anyway.
I have absolutely no idea who sent this to me. It arrived with no advance warning or word of explanation. If anyone has any idea, please let me know. Thanks anyway to the kind person who’s plugged a gap in my collection. I’ll buy you a drink when I find out who the fuck you are!

One thought on “A Mysterious Book”

  1. There’s a PS to this. I posted this strange experience on a local forum, and a couple of days later the mystery was solved. Maria, the friend who’d originally borrowed my copy, had found a copy for sale on Ebay. She got the seller to send it direct to me, so I would be intrigued…

    It worked!

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