this is a touching correspondence between Helene Hanff and the employees at a book shop on Charing Cross Road in London. It spans many years. Short but satisfying, this little book will warm your heart.
Nancy Mitford meets Nora Ephron in the pages of The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street, Helene Hanff's delightful travelogue about her "bucket list" trip to LondonWhen devoted Anglophile Helene Hanff is invited to London for the English publication of 84, Charing Cross Road--in which she shares two decades of correspondence with Frank Doel, a British bookseller who became a dear friend--she can hardly believe her luck. Frank is no longer alive, but his widow and daughter, along with enthusiastic British fans from all walks of life, embrace Helene as an honored guest. Eager hosts, including a famous actress and a retired colonel, sweep her up in a whirlwind of plays and dinners, trips to Harrod's, and wild jaunts to their favorite corners of the countryside. A New Yorker who isn't afraid to speak her mind, Helene Hanff delivers an outsider's funny yet fabulous portrait of idiosyncratic Britain at its best. And whether she is walking across the Oxford University courtyard where John Donne used to tread, visiting Windsor Castle, or telling a British barman how to make a real American martini, Helene always wears her heart on her sleeve. The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street is not only a witty account of two different worlds colliding but also a love letter to England and its literary heritage--and a celebration of the written word's power to sustain us, transport us, and unite us.
In her spirited, witty and vastly entertaining memoir, Helene Hanff recalls her ingenuous attempts to crash Broadway in the early forties as one of "the other 999."Naive, nearsighted, frequently penniless but hopelessly stagestruck, she found her life governed by Flanagan's Law: "No matter what happens to you, it's unexpected." Therefore, as a prize-winning Theatre Guild protégée with a brilliant future, Helene naturally found that all the producers who were going to produce her plays didn't, and all the agents who were going to sell her plays couldn't.Together with her best friend Maxine, an aspiring actress consigned to playing the comedy-ingénue in plays that regularly folded after five performances, she cultivated the "delicate, illegal art of getting everything for nothing"--from free seats to every Broadway show and neighborhood movie and borrowed outfits from Saks to voice lessons for Maxine and Greek lessons for Helene. To keep body and soul together until Broadway fame arrived, they devised an economic survival system that embraced such unlikely jobs as taking street-corner.Reviews -- "Miss Hanff, having a good memory and a lively sense of humor, has composed a theater sketch that is realistic as well as hilarious....One of the most amusing recent theater books about the Broadway theater."--Brooks Atkinson"A delightful book by an irrepressible author....What really lifts the book to a high level of entertainment is the sparkling humor. To describe the incidents wouldn't do justice to the book's charm which comes from the style of writing and Miss Hanff's boundless optimism."--Library Journal"A gay and entertaining book which also has substance."--Boston Herald"Hilarious and highly successful. If you need cheering up, this is it. Here's hoping Miss Hanff finds more failures to write books about."--Columbus Dispatch
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