84, Charing Cross Road.
'84, Charing Cross Road' by Helene Hanff.
This book follows the true story of a friendship between a scriptwriter from New York and a bookseller in Charing Cross Road, London WC2, which spanned 20 years.
The book is written in two parts; the first , being a collection of letters and the second entries from Helene Hanff's diary.
When Helene Hanff contacted 'Marks and Co.' 84, Charing Cross Road in October 1949, I'm sure she had not envisaged her correspondance to last so long. In writing the first letter , wishing to purchase secondhand books she began a friendship with the bookshop's chief buyer, Frank Doel. As the years progressed and more and more books were bought , her correspondance encompassed Frank's family and other members of the bookshop's staff.
The friendship between them all blossomed and Helene was encouraged to visit London and the shop. Many times she declined the invitation, mostly due to lack of funds . However, in June 1971, some 20 + years later she boarded a plane to visit.
The second part of the book follows her itinerary, from June 17th till July 26th 1971. As well as taking in all the usual landmarks she was wined and dined by many including celebrities of the time.
In the past , when I have watched a movie and then read the book, the words always come out on top. But I can truthfully say, that after seeing this movie with Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft in the lead roles , both words and screen deserve equal praise. Highly recommended.