84, Charing Cross Road – Helene Hanff

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Extracte del punt de lectura del Bookclub (Club de Lectura en Anglès)

Helene Hanff discovers in the Saturday Review an small ad of an small library in London that is specialized in second hand books and decides to write the library asking for editions that are hard to find for a reasonable price in New York.
Frank Doel answers her and a friendship starts with correspondence that will last 20 years. Helene and Frank will talk about books, forgotten authors, sadness, happiness, faith, dreams…, the little things that belong to their lives.
The power of evocation of this text is totally fascinating: as the book progresses, the weight of words that hasn’t been said, things that any of them say, is the element that plays, with ability, in the reader, taking him/her further than Helene’s apartment and that lugubrious but illuminated flat at 84, Charing Cross Road, where Frank Doel consumes his days.
84, Charing Cross Road is the story of two lonely souls united for a passion: the passion for reading, the books, for those windows that open to other lives that will never stop fascinating.

The Author
Helene Hanff was born in Philadelphia. Her childhood was marked by the economic depression.
Even though Hanff only could pay herself one year at university, she was always a passionate reader.
At the end of the 30s, Hanff decided to move to New York. Once installed there, she started herself as playwright. Around the 40s, she had already written more than 20 plays, but none of them had been taken to stage.
In that period, she started ordering books at a library in London called Marks and Co., not knowing that the exchange of letters with their employees would get her to write her best known novel: 84, Charing Cross Road.

Partial bibliography

  • 84, Charing Cross Road
  • Q’s Legacy
  • The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street
  • Underfoot in Show Business
  • Apple of My Eye

The Movie
Director ….. David Hugh Jones
Anne Bancroft ….. Helene Hanff
Anthony Hopkins ….. Frank Doel
Judi Dench ….. Nora Doel
Maurice Denham ….. George Martin
Eleanor David ….. Cecily Farr
Mercedes Ruehl ….. Kay
Daniel Gerroll ….. Brian
Wendy Morgan ….. Megan Wells
Ian McNeice ….. Bill Humphries
J. Smith-Cameron ….. Ginny


  1. Kwok Chee Hoh

    sunday jan 17 2021: this will sound like a spoiler., but, apparently, when M/s Hanff started to write “84” she did not have copies of the letters which she had mailed out to the bookshop. She then used Frank Doel’s letters and replies as starting point., and she then “re created” or “re wrote” the letters she felt she must have written to him. Apparently this point is made in Stephen Pastore’s biography of her. Some reviewer of this biography replied that careful reading of her books would have made this clear…….he asked “So what?” This depends on your point of view of course., when i read that i felt it rather reduced the joy that i had remembered from first reading “84” back in the 1970s…wonder what you all feel about this
    Thanks for reading

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