I love it when I get a letter from you. I love it when you describe the reality in which you find yourself at the time of writing, and I am always struck by the way you manage to describe the world as a whole through the minutiae of your daily existence. I also believe that a body of work without a correspondence lacks something essential: the writer’s humanity. The confessional parts of a novel are not necessarily a confession, whereas a letter is always a confession, a hand held out to a friend.
—Alain Mabanckou, excerpt from the book, Always Apprentices: The Believer Presents Twenty-Two Conversations Between Writers