Focusing on a richly significant time in our recent past, Sebastian Faulks, the bestselling author of Birdsong and Charlotte Gray, has written his first novel set in America. The year is 1960 -- a fascinating moment of transition in our country, when the comfortable Eisenhower years were drawing to a close and the ruthlessly competitive Nixon/Kennedy presidential campaign signaled the beginning of a starkly different decade.
Mary van der Linden has recently moved from London to Washington, D.C., with her two children and her loving, admired husband, Charlie, who is posted to the British Embassy. Nearly forty, Mary has spent a lifetime as a loyal daughter, wife and mother. But in this year of so much change, she feels compelled to break away from her familiar world and is drawn to the freedom of New York City, which is effervescent with parties, jazz, three- martini lunches, girls in their summer dresses and men in their Sinatra hats and big ties. Greenwich Village is still charmingly bohemian, and Miles Davis's hit tune “On Green Dolphin Street” is playing everywhere. Mary finds a hotel room in New York and then finds a lover, while back in Washington her husband drinks to forget the demands of his job, the absence of his wife and the Cold War paranoia that has overtaken the capital.
Faulks breaks new ground with this novel: It is a love story, not a war story, and it is set in America rather than France. Yet readers of his two previous bestselling novels will recognize the close focus of the historical setting, the unforgettable characters and the gathering emotional power of the narrative. On Green Dolphin Street is a dramatic, tremendously moving novel that is certain to extend the American audience for this prodigiously talented author's work.
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