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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.


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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