Susan Ballyn

John Martin’s … letters are appropriately punctuated by Helene’s own comments, on occasions correcting some political or historical detail her partner had got askew. Her comments are also enlightening in offering views of her own journalistic commitments … the huge toll taken on her by an almost inhuman work load as she traipsed all over China to cover stories, often with him as the offside onlooker commenting on the often comic, but frustrating red-tape of a country changing yet still tied down under communist hard-line rule. The letters also document the depths of the most unusual relationship that Helene and John shared, at once wistful and powerful.