Julie Ekkers's Reviews > 84, Charing Cross Road

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
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Mar 02, 12

bookshelves: non-ficition
Read in March, 2012

How charming! 84 Charing Cross road is a slender volume of letters between a sassy New Yorker, Helene, with exacting taste in her books, and the buttoned-up employee of a used book shop in London, Frank. It is, sadly, out of print, but not to the extent that one should have to go to any great trouble to read it. Though the correspondence begins with a request for books (and such requests naturally trail through the whole of it), it also ranges to all kinds of topics and over time, includes parcels of food and other gifts from Helene to Frank and other book shop employees. (The correspondence begins in the years following WWII when food was not always plentiful in Britain.)

This is an utterly beguiling book, well worth the perhaps hour it would take most to read it. One of Helene's requests is for John Donne's sermons. It's Donne who wrote, "More than kisses, letters mingle souls." The truth of that is evident in this book.
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