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84, Charing Cross Road
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About the Author

Helene Hanff (1915-1997) was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In the 1940s and '50s she wrote plays and television scripts in New York City, but found little success until her best-known book, 84, Charing Cross Road, was published in 1970. The book was a smash hit and has been adapted for the radio, stage, film, and television.

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This gem is not for the crowd who wants fast action and lots of glamour. No, this one is for the listener who delights in seeing a character revealed, a friendship grow, and can appreciate a spirited discussion of important but neglected authors. Helene Hanff, a New York writer, responds to an advertisement by a London bookseller and inquires about purchasing some out-of-print books. Her inquiry to Marks & Company is answered by a very proper Englishman, Frank Doel. Thus begins a witty, challenging, ever-literate exchange of letters as the business relationship evolves into one of personal friendship. The letters reveal much about the lives of the two correspondents and serve as a record of the years between 1949 and 1969. This will appeal to all who long to dig into something with wit, insight, and substance. A good tonic for the book lover burned out on too many best sellers of dubious merit. There are several narrators, but John Franklyn-Robbins and Barbara Rosenblat admirably read the principal roles. For all collections.-- Nancy Paul, Brandon P.L., Wis.

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