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The Definitive Helene Hanff Website
This website (and contents) has been Copyrighted to Angela Garry since 1997, and copies
of all pages and resources lodged with the UK Copyright Office in 2008. If you'd like to use
anything from this site, please contact me for permission. I'll more than likely grant it - but
it's nice to be asked first, rather than find out later that you've borrowed something!
I'm Angela Garry - I live in Derbyshire, England. When I was a teenager I became obsessed
with the city of New York.
During the first year of my degree course in Exeter in 1988 I saw the film of '84 Charing
Cross Road', in which Anne Bancroft played Helene Hanff, and Sir Anthony
Hopkins played Frank Doel. The storyline of the film captured my imagination, and the
cinematography showed me the New York I so wanted to see. I felt so much in common with
the lead character who lived in one country but yearned to visit another - except in her case,
her yearning was for England.
The film moved me deeply, and reading in the film's credits that it was based on a book by
Helene Hanff, I was intrigued to find out more about the author. A local theatre group
performed the play of '84' in Exeter just a few months later, and in Helene's own words
(describing a friend of hers who had just started reading Jane Austen) I "went out of my
mind" for her books. I bought all I could find ('84', 'Duchess of Bloomsbury Street',
'Underfoot in Showbusiness', 'Apple of My Eye' and 'Q's Legacy' - and eventually
'Letter from New York' when it was published in 1992), and read and re-read them until
the covers almost fell off!
Like many of her fans, I wrote to Helene several times over a period of 9 years - and was
delighted to receive some postcards from her in response. Meeting her in 1994 was a
wonderful opportunity to come face to face with my favourite author - and learning of her
death three years later, I felt the need to create a website about her as I couldn't find one. So,
the original version of this site, based on freespace.virgin.net/angela.garry/hanff was born.
Throughout the time I've known of her, I have urged others around me to get to know Helene
too. I've lent my copies of her books to friends who all declared they were some of the best
books they had read. Trouble was, my friends then felt obliged to steal the books from me
and keep them for their own - to quote Helene, "Why is it that people who wouldn’t
dream of stealing anything else think it's perfectly all right to steal books?"
A particular phrase of Helene's, which she wrote relating to her gratefulness to Sir Arthur
Quiller-Couch (at the end of 'Q's Legacy') speaks volumes about my own feelings about the
books which she herself wrote: "If I live to be very old, all my memories of the glory
days will grow vague and confused, till I won't be certain any of it really
happened. But the books will be there, on my shelves and in my head - the one
enduring reality I can be certain of till the day I die." I, for one, will be forever
grateful to Helene Hanff for writing her books - books which will remain with me, on *my*
shelves and in *my* head till the day *I* die...
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To contact me, please email me at
firstname.lastname@example.org - I've changed
just a bit since meeting Helene in 1994!
How to Contact Me