2015. május 27., szerda

84 Charing Cross Road

Ez most egy rendhagyó ismertető lesz - az egyik legkedvencebb könyvem Helene Hanff leveleinek gyűjteménye (kicsit emlékeztet a Krumplihéjpitére, csak éppen ezek a levelek valódiak). Helene new yorki írónő, levelezőpartnere Frank Doel, egy londoni antikvárium tulajdonosa, akik bár sosem találkoztak, húsz éven keresztül leveleztek egymással, nyomoztak különleges könyvek után, és elválaszthatatlanul összekötötte őket az olvasás szeretete. Ennek a két intelligens, művelt, száraz humorú könyvmolynak a barátsága sokkal jobban megindított, mint vártam; torokszorító volt, ahogy Helene segíteni próbál a második világháborút megszenvedő londoni barátainak; vagy ahogy újra és újra elhalasztja az útját, míg végül már sosem kerülhet rá sor... nem tudok erről a szellemes, okos, szeretnivaló levélregényről elég szépen írni; inkább hozok belőle néhány idézetet, hátha kedvet kaptok hozzá.

"I do love secondhand books that open to the page some previous owner read oftenest. The day Hazlitt came he opened to „I hate to read new books,” and I hollered „Comrade!” to whoever owned it before me."
"Did I tell you I finally found the perfect page-cutter? It's a pearl-handled fruit knife. My mother left me a dozen of them, I keep one in the pencil cup on my desk. Maybe I go with the wrong kind of people but i'm just not likely to have twelve guests all sitting around simultaneously eating fruit."
"I have these guilts about never having read Chaucer but I was talked out of learning Early Anglo-Saxon / Middle English by a friend who had to take it for her Ph.D. They told her to write an essay in Early Anglo-Saxon on any-subject-of-her-own-choosing. “Which is all very well,” she said bitterly, “but the only essay subject you can find enough Early Anglo-Saxon words for is ‘How to Slaughter a Thousand Men in a Mead Hall’."
"I liked reading about the nun who ate so dainty with her fingers she never dripped any grease on herself. I've never been able to make that claim and I use a fork."
Kindly inform the Church of England they have loused up the most beautiful prose ever written, whoever told them to tinker with the Vulgate Latin? They'll burn for it, you mark my words.
It's nothing to me, I'm Jewish myself. But I have a Catholic sister-in-law, a Methodist sister-in-law, a whole raft of Presbyterian cousins (through my Great-Uncle Abraham who converted) and an aunt who's a Christian Science healer, and I like to think none of them would countenance this Anglican Latin Bible if they knew it existed. (As it happens, they don't know Latin existed.)"
All I have to say to YOU, Frank Doel, is we live in depraved, destructive and degenerate times when a bookshop – a BOOKSHOP – starts tearing up beautiful old books to use as wrapping paper.

You tore that book up in the middle of a major battle and I don't even know which war it was.

I want the Q anthology,

Why don't you wrap it in pages LCXII and LCXIII so I can at least find out who won the battle and what war it was?"
"You better watch out, i'm coming over there in 53 if Ellery is renewed. i'm gonna climb up that victorian book-ladder and disturb the dust on the top shelves and everybody's decorum. Or didn't I ever tell you that I write arty murders for Ellery Queen on television? All my scripts have artistic backgrounds – ballet, concert hall, opera – and all the suspects and corpses are cultured, maybe I'll do one about the rare book business in your honor, you want to be the murderer or the corpse?"
Postcard mailed from Stratford-upon-Avon, May 6, 1957
"You might have warned us! We walked into your bookstore and said we were friends of yours and were nearly mobbed. Frank wanted to take us home for the weekend. Mr Marks came out from the back of the store just to shake hands with friends-of-Miss-Hanff, everybody in the place wanted to wine and dine us, we barely got out alive.
Love, Ginny and Ed"

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