On Green Dolphin Street by Sebastian Faulks
A Novel

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Synopsis

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.
 

About Sebastian Faulks

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Sebastian Faulks is best known for his trilogy of novels set in France: The Girl at the Lion d’Or, Birdsong and Charlotte Gray, the latter two of which were bestsellers in the United States. A film based on Charlotte Gray, directed by Gillian Armstrong and starring Cate Blanchett and Billy Crudup, is scheduled for release in early 2002. Faulks lives in London.
 
Published September 3, 2014 by Vintage. 354 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Romance, War. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for On Green Dolphin Street

Kirkus Reviews

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At a boozy party at the van der Lindens’ in DC, so smitten is Frank with the attractive Mary that after leaving he pretends he’s shut his hand in a car door (he actually cut himself) just so he can come back for first aid and be around her longer.

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The New York Times

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my previous life, my next life,'' and yet she also believes that marriage ''means that if an impossible choice is to be made'' between a husband's life and a wife's, ''you choose his.'' By the novel's end, the geopolitical situation Faulks has taken such pains to describe evaporates before Mary's...

Feb 03 2002 | Read Full Review of On Green Dolphin Street: A Novel

The Guardian

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On Green Dolphin Street Sebastian Faulks 341pp, Hutchinson, £16.99 Buy it at a discount at BOL Sebastian Faulks has become an international sensation, attracting countless readers to his entertaining French trio, The Girl at the Lion d'Or , Birdsong and Charlotte Gray .

Apr 28 2001 | Read Full Review of On Green Dolphin Street: A Novel

The Guardian

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On Green Dolphin Street Sebastian Faulks Hutchinson £16.99, pp356 Buy it at a discount at BOL Reflecting on his conviction that he has 'exhausted the world's literary output', Charlie van der Linden, an English diplomat posted in Washington, remembers how his father used to warn, 'Ars longa, vit...

Apr 22 2001 | Read Full Review of On Green Dolphin Street: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Jazz fans may recognize the title of this tepid novel about a love triangle set in 1960, but the reference (to a 1960 Miles Davis hit) will do little to enhance their appreciation of this disappointing work, the fifth novel from British writer Faulks (Birdsong;

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Book Reporter

The scenes at Dien Bien Phu prefigure the war that nobody wanted and the flashbacks to World War II recall the savagery of the war that everybody seems to agree was necessary.

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of On Green Dolphin Street: A Novel

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