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On Green Dolphin Street (2001)

par Sebastian Faulks

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1,0391214,739 (3.38)47
America, 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. But when Frank, an American newspaper reporter, enters their lives Mary embarks on a passionate affair, all the while knowing that in the end she must confront an impossible decision.… (plus d'informations)
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Heart-breaking finale, with each and every step simultaneously luminous in its orchestration. I hate how this slowly undos you right up from Charlie's almost-suicidal breakdown, right up to the moments of Mary and Frank's last meeting, but if something can arouse such strong emotion in you, then that's a testament to the power of Faulks's writing.... ( )
  georgeybataille | Jun 1, 2021 |
Faulks' writing is very lyrical, it absorbs you even when you don't know where the plot is going or what Faulks is trying to say. But luckily, these moments are few. On Green Dolphin Street is a very intense novel about choices. Do you live for yourself or other people? Do you choose to put your own happiness first or that of other people? Is it good enough to enjoy while it lasts when you cannot have it for eternity? These are the choices that Mary, and to a certain extent, Frank, had to make. Mary thought she can juggle her family and her relationship with Frank, and she vacillated between staying with Charlie and leaving him. Frank didn't want to decide for Mary. When he finally decided what he wanted and rushed to the airport, it was too late as he kept getting obstructed by the traffic. On the other hand, Mary had such a smooth ride to the airport and ended up being very early as the flight was delayed by an hour. Frank could have made it if he hadn't given up. But this is life. And this is why I love the ending. ( )
  siok | Sep 27, 2017 |
The novel is very evocative of the late 1950s era in the USA and Moscow but has a very one dimensional image of London. New York in particular is very well drawn, the noises, smells and people of the city very vivid.
The characters were less clearly defined for me and I found them difficult to engage with and I was constantly thinking - do people really behave like this? By the end the only character I felt much sympathy for was Charlie, the diplomat and husband. It is possible that Sebastian Faulks intended to write a melodrama. The final chapters hurtle full tilt in to this melodrama and had the sense of a film of that time - although made much earlier, Brief Encounter was constantly in my mind.
Well researched and constructed novel that was OK for a diverting read. ( )
  CarolKub | Aug 1, 2014 |
A wholly enthralling love story, set in Washington DC in 1959-1960, against the backdrop of the Kennedy-Nixon election contest.
Charlie van der Linden is a British diplomat based at the embassy in Washington where he is viewed as a high flier because of the depth of his analysis of the prevailing political scene in America. he lives with his wife Mary and their two young children, though the children are about to depart for boarding school back home. As the novel opens they are holding a party to celebrate their wedding anniversary. One of the guests is a political journalist, Frank Renzo, whom Charlie had encountered fleetingly years before in Dien Bien Phu, in Vietnam,during the ill-fated siege of the town that led to the French withdrawal from Indochina. On the basis of this very slight acquaintance (that in fact the sozzled Charlie can scarcely recall) Frank is invited to come along to the party. There he immediately (and utterly irretrievably) falls in love with Mary, and it gradually becomes evident that she returns his passion.
The novel then details the progress of their affection for each other, while also chronicling the presidential election campaign. Charlie does not realise what is happening as he is becoming increasingly dependent upon the vast amounts of alcohol that he consumes, to such an extent that his career is threatened.
Faulks captures the depth of the respective characters' emotions faultlessly - this an yet another tour de force from him. He has a fantastic knack of pitching the emotional intensity just right. ( )
  Eyejaybee | Apr 4, 2012 |
A wonderfully visual and evocative tale set during the Nixon-Kennedy election campaign. It reminded me of Mad Men: there's a simplicity and stillness in the telling. As always Faulks gives us well written and sympathetic characters, who I grew to care for. I am still musing on the ending... it was tough! But maybe right. Great book, from a fast becoming favourite author. Definitely recommend. ( )
  outside-jane | Dec 16, 2010 |
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The van der Lindens' house was distinguished from the others on the street by the creeper that covered half the front, running up to the children's rooms beneath the eaves, where at night the glow from the sidewalk lamp gave to Number 1064 the depth and shadow of a country settlement, somewhere far away from this tidy urban street.
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America, 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. But when Frank, an American newspaper reporter, enters their lives Mary embarks on a passionate affair, all the while knowing that in the end she must confront an impossible decision.

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