This story is set in America during 1959. With two young children she adores, loving parents back in London, and an admired husband, Charlie, working at the British embassy in Washington, the world seems an effervescent place of parties, jazz and family happiness to Mary van der Linden. But the Eisenhower years are ending, and 1960 brings the presidential battle between two ambitious senators: John Kennedy and Richard Nixon. An American newspaper reporter called Frank Renzo dramatically enters the van der Lindens' lives, and through him Mary is forced to confront the terror of the Cold War that is the dark background of their carefree existence. In New York, Mary finds a transfiguring personal happiness, yet ghosts of America's recent past - of McCarthy, the war in the Pacific, the struggle in Indochina, exert a subtle, disorientating pressure on the lives of all the characters. In tone and setting, "On Green Dolphin Street" is a new departure for Faulks, yet readers will recognise the intensely close focus of the characterisation, the wide historical perspective in which it is set, and the gathering emotional power of the narrative. This is partly a love story, partly a novel about America, across whose great landscape it moves; more particularly, it tells of a solitary woman and her exhilarating attempt to face down death.
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Fine cloth copy in an equally fine dw, now mylar-sleeved. Particularly and surprisingly well-preserved; tight, bright, clean and especially sharp-cornered. Book is not price-clipped. Flat-signed by author. ; 8vo 8" - 9" tall; 341 pages; Physical description. : 341 p. ; 24 cm. Subject: Historical fiction. British - United States - Fiction. Diplomats' spouses - Fiction. Cold War - Fiction. Love stories. Married women - Fiction. Political fiction. English - United States - Fiction. Washington (D. C. ) - Fiction. New York (N. Y. ) - Fiction.Review:
Fans will recognise Sebastian Faulks' focus on characterisation, historical context and the emotional power of his narrative in his new novel, "On Green Dolphin Street". Yet, in tone and setting, the story of one woman's attempt to face down death in the Cold War years marks a new departure for this bestselling novelist.
It's 1959 and the presidential battle between Kennedy and Nixon is heating up. Just as the country stands between two men so does Mary van der Linden, the wife of a British embassy employee in Washington and lover of political newspaper reporter Frank Renzo. All three are damaged by their experiences of war; death and decay are everywhere: through the men's memory of war, Mary's dying mother, van der Linden's declining health and the readers' knowledge that in only a few short years Kennedy will be dead and Nixon disgraced.
Previously, Faulks has described in bloody detail the horrors of the trenches and the brutality of the battlefield. Here he comments on the hollowness and politics of war and the human cost. With the personal mirroring the political so closely, the inevitability of the doomed love affair at the centre of the novel hardly inspires one to great heights of empathy. Consequently, the characters' fervour often falls flat:
"He raked his fingers through her hair, down to the skull, as his body filled hers. All the way, he thought, I will go all the way, till I find her; and with her head between his hands he too let out a cry, because he felt pity for her soul."
Faulks, whose previous novels have included bestsellers Birdsong and Charlotte Gray, has the capacity to sweep his readers up in his historical sagas and excels in his unflinching treatment of war. Unfortunately, the switch here from the battlefield to the political arena is not as compelling and, considering he is writing about one of the most exhilarating periods in US history and its most exciting city--New York (something Douglas Kennedy captured far more successfully in The Pursuit of Happiness), On Green Dolphin Street simply does not leap to the same heights as his earlier novels. --Alex Freeman
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Book Description Random House, London, United Kingdom, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Fiction. Bookseller Inventory # 19650
Book Description Hutchinson Publishing, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. Published In 2001 : 1st. Edition : Full Printing Numbers Listed , 1 - 10 : The Only Thing To Report On This Copy Is ; Very Faint Face Rubbing To The Dust Wrapper & Leaf Edge Yellowing : Otherwise , As New Throughout : Overall , A Very Nice Book : Bookseller Inventory # 22 - 7057