Friday, October 22, 2010
84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
Two years later, Hanff is outraged that Marks & Co. has dared to send an abridged Pepys diary. "i enclose two limp singles, i will make do with this thing till you find me a real Pepys. THEN i will rip up this ersatz book, page by page, AND WRAP THINGS IN IT." Nonetheless, her postscript asks whether they want fresh or powdered eggs for Christmas. Soon they're sharing news of Frank's family and Hanff's career. No doubt their letters would have continued, but in 1969, the firm's secretary informed her that Frank Doel had died. In the collection's penultimate entry, Helene Hanff urges a tourist friend, "If you happen to pass by 84, Charing Cross Road, kiss it for me. I owe it so much." (Amazon.com)
This is a wonderfully sweet little novel. I read it in one sitting (while drinking a cup of tea) and smiled all the way through. For people who love books and love talking about books (and writing about books) this is a wonderful addition to any home library. Next up is the movie - we'll see how it measures up!