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Q's Legacy by Helene Hanff

Q's Legacy (1985)

by Helene Hanff

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5892216,710 (3.99)94
Recently added byErin.Patel, stortemelk, kaggsy, yarnbeagle, Pages_Aplenty, dltucker, srdr, private library



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Definitely a keeper. This is the story of her quest to become a writer. Not able to afford college, she went to the library and started in the 800 section (English Literature) under "A." She examined every author trying to find one she could understand and who had something to say. There was only one author under "Q," Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, M.A., a Professor at Cambridge. Thus begins her education, and her memoir.

Hanff's warm personality and humor shine in this. It is a wonderful example of how to pursue something you want very much. I was impressed with her courtesy towards her fans and her stick-to-it-iveness. I'm a big fan of homeschooling, and this is a terrific example of a motivated person getting an excellent education. The story loses a bit of its edge towards the end, but her humor keeps it pleasurable. ( )
1 vote MrsLee | Mar 31, 2014 |
Re-reading this book is like re-visitng an old friend. This companion to 84 Charing Cross Road may not be quite as luminous as the original, but it is still wonderful and dear nonetheless. ( )
  bookwoman247 | Jul 26, 2013 |
While I enjoyed this story elaborating the story of "84, Charing Cross Road", It was really only more of the same. Ms. Hanff is something of a one trick pony, which she admits in this book. But She has scored big with that pony. While I enjoyed both of these books, I may not be inclined to read "The Dutchess of Bloomsberry Street" by Hanff. ( )
  Denverbook | Feb 19, 2013 |
Q’s Legacy is Helene Hanff’s account of how she came to write 84, Charing Cross Road and its sequel, The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street (so I guess this book is a part of that series). She starts with the day at the Philadelphia Public Library when she discovered Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch’s On the Art of Writing, which led her to begin reading the books he mentioned. That led to Helene collecting those books, which led to her correspondence with Frank Doel at Marks and Co. in London…

Helene talks about the books she read less than I would have expected her to, but what’s undeniable is that she definitely has her own distinctive narrative voice, seen in 84 and The Duchess, and continued in this book. She’s funny, smart, honest, and direct, all of the qualities that I love in her writing. Helene covers a large amount of time in this book; from the day at the Philadelphia library in the 1930s when she was just a student (officially or otherwise), up until the 1980s, when 84 had become a major Broadway production. Helene was a diehard Anglophile, so her trips to England are the highlights of this memoir—including her infamous trip to see Quiller-Couch’s study.

Throughout her trips are sprinkled various anecdotes, some of them not apparently connected with Helene’s story but that display her love for English culture—i.e., rambling about Thomas and Jane Carlyle and their house in Cheyne Row, London. But the tangential rambling are all a part of Hanff’s charm. In all, I enjoyed this memoir, although I would have liked Hanff to have included a reading list or something that tied the title and subject of the book together better. On a side note, as a big Persephone fan, Hanff has connections with two Persephone authors: Diana Athill, who worked with Helene’s publisher, Andre Deutsch; and at one point Helene mentions to Andre that he should publish Judith Viorst’s It’s Hard to be Hip Over Thirty, of which Andre says “it won’t travel.” ( )
2 vote Kasthu | Feb 16, 2012 |
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In grateful memory of Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch
"Not to pay a debt but to acknowledge it."
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Q and I first met on a summer morning when I was eighteen, at the main branch of the Philadelphia Public Library where I'd gone in search of a teacher; and I took him home with me despite certain doubts about his fitness for the post.
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This ebullient memoir chronicles the author's lifelong love of books, which began with Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch's "The Art of Writing" and developed with works by Izaak Walton, Cardinal Newman, and Milton.

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