On July 2, TheNew York Times ran a review of author Patrick Somerville’s book This Bright River. It was not a flattering assessment. Film and literary critic Janet Maslin described the starting point as “generic” and the destination as “soggy.”
When Somerville read the review, he realized the whole thing hinged on a factual error: Maslin mixed up two characters from the very beginning, confusing which one got hit in the head.
To clear up the mistake, Ed Marks, an editor at the Times, began an email correspondence with one of those characters, Ben, who has an email address set up by Somerville. Ben, through Somerville, and the editor developed what Somerville calls a “ghost relationship.”