84, Charing Cross Road

4.6
In 1949 Helene Hanff,' a poor writer with an antiquarian taste in books', wrote to Marks& amp; Co. Booksellers of 84 Charing Cross Rd, in search of the rare editions she was nable to find in New York. Her ooks were dispatched with polite but brisk efficiency. But, seeking further treasures, Helene soon found herself in regular correspondence with bookseller Frank Doel, laying siege to his English reserve with her warmth and wit. And, as letters, books and quips crossed the ocean, a friendship flourished that would endure for twenty years.
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Original Series
Year of the Publication
Publication Date
Published 2002(first published 1970
Original Title of the Book
84, Charing Cross Road
Number of Pages
230

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gave it

The epistolary meanderings of Helene Hanff and Frank Dole are insightful, playful in their coyness, and progressive in their development.

This real occurrence happens after the firs world war ( the last three words of which is a favorite ook of mine).

gave it

A proclaimed Anglophile who wrote to employees of the Marks and Company Book Shop in London over a twenty year period, Hanff published her letters in book form as a gift to future readers and letter writers.Helene Hanff is enamored by out of print, hard to find British literature.

By chance, Hanff 's upstairs neighbors are British, and they give her the name of Marks and Co. Starting in 1949, Hanff begins writing to Marks' employees requesting new or slightly used second hand copies of all things British, everything from Chaucer to Austen and all rare books in between.

What started as an enquiry becomes a twenty year correspondence with employees at the shop.The main pen pal Hanff wrote to was an employee named Frank Doel.

Even though she was able to visit London, Hanff 's sincere writing left me with a smile as I envisioned her thrill of opening the letters and packages that emerged from a simple correspondence.

gave it

I laughed a lot harder this time, and even got a little choked up near the beginnin.

Re-reading this little treasury of collected letters made me think perhaps we 've lost more than just an outdated form of contact.

gave it

Strangers connecting over their mutual love of books.

gave it

Responding to an advertisement in a newspape, she wrote to Marks& Co., and began her two decades-long epistolary relationship with Doel.Her chatty, witty and often teasing letters requesting books and Frank ’ s more conservative, straightlaced missives form the backbone of the work.

As their long-distance, customer-bookseller relationship evolves, Hanff occasionally writes to other store employees, as well as Doel ’ s mother, the couple ’ s stepdaughter and the family ’ s elderly neighbour.

The books also touches on their differing cultures, Hanff ’ s writing characterized by frank forthrightness, Doel ’ s, although no less friendly, by a certain civility and politeness.Their correspondence isn ’ t just about books, although there are some musing, illuminating passages about Chaucer, Samuel Pepys, Jane Austen, John Donne and Laurence Sterne.

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