Another narrator speaks in this chapter, which is also in the form of a letter; it’s dated “12 September 2003” and addressed “Dear Oskar.” The writer of the letter is an old woman (Grandma), writing from the airport and talking about her childhood. She writes that as a child, their house received a letter from a man in a Turkish labor camp, but most of the details had been blocked out by a censor. She never told her parents about the letter.
Grandma’s writing style is different from either Grandpa’s or Oskar’s: she writes in short, direct, clipped sentences that move in a fairly linear fashion from thought to thought. Grandpa, in contrast, writes in very long sentences that twist around each other, and Oskar constantly flits from idea to idea.
The writer (Grandma) says that she asks everyone she knows to write her a letter: her father, an inmate in the penitentiary, her piano teacher, her friend Mary, her grandmother. She ends up with over a hundred letters.
Letters are crucial to all the protagonists. Oskar writes letters to every celebrity that he is interested in, and Grandpa writes a letter every day to his unborn son; Grandma, in contrast, gets people to write letters to her.
Seven years later, when she had only been in America for two months, Grandma meets a man who used to date her sister, Anna; she had caught the two of them kissing in the shed behind the house. Now, the man no longer talks. The woman tells the story of spending the afternoon together, but in her version, she does not write “Please marry me,” instead, he asks her, through hand motions and writing, if she would pose for him so that he can sculpt her.
Grandma’s story of how she and Grandpa met and married is different than Grandpa’s version. Grandpa had written that Grandma proposed to him right away, but Grandma adds another layer, writing that first, Grandpa asked to sculpt her. One person’s perspective may not be the entire truth.
Grandma goes to Grandpa’s apartment every day so that he can sculpt her. The apartment is filled with animals, except for one clean corner. She poses for him nude. As he progresses, the sculpture looks more and more like Anna.
Like Noah’s Ark, Grandpa’s apartment is filled with animals, as though he’s created his own isolated little world safe from any traumatic events outside.
One day, they end up making love, and Grandma looks at the unfinished sculpture of her sister. After they make love, they go to the café where they met, and then, she writes, “Please marry me” on the next blank page of his book. He writes, “No children,” and she agrees. The next day, they are married.
Grandpa doesn’t want to have children because he doesn’t want to experience the pain of loss again: if he doesn’t have more connections, he will have less to lose, and therefore experience less pain.