84 Charing Cross Road_ Helene Hanff

2016 Feb. 24  04

18299226
picture from Goodreads

84 Charing Cross Road

Helene Hanff

Sphere

‘If you happen to pass by 84 Charing Cross Road, kiss it for me! I owe it so much.’

這是一本前半是書信體、後半是日記體的紀傳性質作品。內容講的是50至70年代,橫跨大西洋兩岸,倫敦二手書商和紐約愛書人之間以書搭起的一段,長達20年的友誼。

那是一個我們早就遺忘了的年代,一個沒有網路,訊息只能透過郵政系統傳遞的時代。不過經過了這麼多個年頭,書的價值和溫度卻從未改變。

書籍所扮演的角色雖然不是始終如一(被閱讀史荼毒過後的心得),但隨著時間演進,它的功能變得更多重,重要性也更强。在現在這個熙來攘往的嘈雜世界,書不只提供了「會友」的機會,更是人們一個在紛紛擾擾中的一片寧靜的小綠洲。

扯遠了。

我以為我會很愛這本書,但看完我覺得好失望啊。高潮處真的蠻精(揪)彩(心)的,如果你不知道什麼是心碎的感覺,可以看這本先預習一下,但是你們應該能夠理解,信件和日記紀錄的是生活,而作者在紀錄這些文字時,也不是以出版成書為出發點,因此多數內容並不特別,甚至可以說它有些枯燥。總之比起文字和內容,整本書背後所傳遞的「人與書的互動和緊密的關係」反倒更勝一籌。

最後,我很喜歡作者描述的倫敦,那些無論熟悉或不熟悉的地點,和她以一個外國人角度,初來倫敦時對這座城市的印象,讀起來很有親切感,也讓我好想在離開之前,再好好探索一次倫敦。


p. 49 What a weird world we live in when so beautiful a thing can be owned for life ─ for the price of a ticket to a Broadway movie palace, or 1/50th the cost of having one tooth capped.

p. 86 Yes, we’re still here, getting older and busier but no richer.

p. 108 ‘I’m here,’ I said. ‘I’m in London. I made it.’ But it wasn’t real.

p.113 I felt unreal, knowing I was on my way to that address. I’d bought books from 84 Charing Cross Road for twenty years. I’d made friends there whom I never met. Most of the books I bought from Marks & Co. were probably available in New York. For years, friends had advised me to ‘try O’Malley’s,’ ‘try Dauber & Pine.’ I’d never done it. I’d wanted a link with London and I’d managed it.

p.147 Lying in peaceful St James’s, I realize how much a city’s parks reflect the character of  its people. The parks here are tranquil, quiet, a bit reserved, and I love them.

p. 155 ‘BUCKINGHAM PALACE. Vacancy in the central wash-up of the main kitchen, for female applicants only. Non-residential… Apply in writing to Master of the Household, Buckingham Palace, London SW1.’ Wouldn’t you like to take that job for one day, just to listen to the gossip?

p. 198 I’m always ashamed when I discover how well-read other people are and how ignorant I am in comparison.

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