Imagine yourself stuck in front of a worn out manual typewriter in a squalid New York brownstone tenement apartment on a dreadful 1949 winter evening, yearning for something to read. To make matters worse, the printing and binding quality of cheap American paperbacks do not match your literary tastes.
Then, imagine yourself spotting an ad from a bookseller across the Atlantic that offers the titles and editions of your dreams, and you start to place an order with a letter, addressed to Marks & Co., at 84 Charing Cross Road, London.
84 Charing Cross Road is simply that, a story about a woman who corresponds with the manager and staff of an antiquarian book dealer for 20 years.
From Marks & Co., Helene gets obscure titles of Leigh Hunt, John Donne, Izaak Walton, Laurence Sterne and Walter Savage Landor. And as a quid pro quo, the staff are bestowed with assortment of heartwarming gifts and supplies from a thoughtful, although sometimes fastidious customer.
84 Charing Cross Road is about steadfast friendship built and sustained through turbulent times, from the ruin of war to the dawn of the chaotic seventies, adorned by a backdrop of events and icons, including a coronation, the loss of Churchill, and the rise of The Beatles.
All in all, this is an easy, but touching read soaked with wit and humour, perfect for a relaxed summer evening.
For the Traditional Chinese translation, click here.
For the Simplified Chinese translation, click here.
Photograph (照片): Don Pablo / Shutterstock.com