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One of the most heartbreaking novels I have read and I mean that in a good way His character development was masterful, and I was drawn totally into their separate lives To call this a romance or a love story is almost an insult to the deeper themes of the novel familial unity the role that morality, integrity, and responsibility plays in our lives the occurrences in our lives that tear us apart mentally and emotionally Faulks expressed the conflicting emotions of the lovers beautifully wrenching though they were And the depiction of the death of Mary s mother and Mary s reaction to it is one of the strongest pieces of writing that I have read I cannot praise this book highly enough all I can say is that I think it should be on everyone s reading list. I couldn t finish this From the self centered characters to the slow paced plot, I found nothing about this book enjoyable I loved This was the first Faulks book I ve read, although I know we have the French trilogy The writing was gorgeous, which is good, because it wasn t the greatest story ever It s about a British diplomat s wife who has an affair while living with her husband in Washington DC I did like the depictions of the emotions involved in infidelity She loves her Non sequitor Hey, there s no male word for mistress, is there That s weird, there should be Mister Master Neither of those are right It s like how there s no satisfying female equivalent of guy Anyway, she loves Frank, the guy she s having an affair with, but she never stops loving her husband, who is an alcoholic undergoing a nervous breakdown and professional difficulties When she is with her family, she feels like standing by them is the most important thing, but when she s with Frank, she feels like she can leave them behind for him We get some chapters from Frank s perspective he knows and likes the husband, and the husband s perspective, as he goes from ignorance to suspicion to certainty about the affair I just thought it was a fairly honest portrayal of all emotions involved in infidelity absolutely nothing is black and white.Set in 1960, this all unfolds against the backdrop of Nixon and Kennedy s presidential campaigns and the cold war. I am a big fan of Sebastian Faulks, and I think this may be his finest effort to date Like all his novels, this one is first and foremost an old fashioned love story As in Birdsong, this novel seamlessly weaves the personal and very intimate story of an accidental affair into a larger milieu of fairly grand but always understated significance Indeed, it s impossible to imagine this story occuring in any other time, or any other way The story alternates between Washington, DC and New York City in 1960s, and Faulks evokes the background political and social drama of the period, creating a perfect backdrop for the inner drama of his characters Whether because I knew the physical setting so well having lived in both cities , or because I came to know the characters so well, once begun I couldn t put the book down Faulks tells this story masterfully. My first Sebastian Faulks, and I m looking forward to Another Goodreads reader described it as a complex and genuine love storylike watching real life unfold which seems pretty accurate to me I don t usually read straight romance stories, and I guess this one is a bit than that but in any case it caught me from the first page I thought it sagged a bit in the middle, when none of the relationships seemed to be moving anywhere, but the described world was shifting in ways that would eventually affect the characters and subsequently the story All three characters in the love triangle are, to differing degrees, likeable, sympathetic, and admirable a very difficult trick to pull off for any writer, I d think Every aspect of love and betrayal is considered, and Faulks does it all with apparent ease He refuses to let you take sides in the adulterous affair He also accurately captures D.C., New York, Chicago, London, Moscow, Vietnam when it was controlled by the French, bits of World War II, Kennedy, Nixon, and mutual affection and distrust between the Brits and the Americans All with characters who feel like real people and with whom you enjoy spending time. Set in 1959 USA during the Kennedy Nixon campaign Mary is the wife of Charlie Van der Linden an emissary in the British Embassy in Washington whose life is one long round of parties and lunch meetings and general socialising You d think she d have a great life but Charlie is slowly disappearing into the bottle 3 dry martinis before lunch and she has attracted the attentions of one of the many American journalists who attend the parties at the Van der lindens home When Mary and Charlie ship their children off to boarding school in the UK Mary is somewhat at a loose end and that is when the trouble really starts.Sebastian Faulks takes us on journey of discovery of self assessment of challenge to the established order of things in 1959 A slow and thorough exposition for 95% of the book written in the imaginative, elegant and appropriate prose that makes Faulkes stories such a joy to read The introduction of Mary s mothers terminal cancer and the pain and anguish of dealing with the death of her parent from the other side of the Atlantic transatlantic flights in 1959 were very different from those in 2009 make Mary s deliberations even difficult In the aftermath of the presidential elections that put Kennedy into office Charlie is sent back to Moscow which causes a cataclysmic crash of emotions and desires for Mary and the crisis that Charlie walks into there, threatens to pull Mary into complete chaos.The last 5% of the book is written with an urgency and passion so different from the rest of the book Faulks manages to pull the stress, strain and confusion within the characters into words that make you feel you are living every second of the last 24 hours with the people in the story Or is it that you have to have been pushed and pulled from country to country yourself to appreciate the pain and torment Mary is put through. .EPUB ☿ On Green Dolphin Street ♿ The Bestselling Author Of Birdsongand Charlotte Graydelivers An Enthralling, Vibrantly Evocative Novel Set In America In , When The Country Stood Poised Between The Paranoia Of The Cold War And The Ebullience Of The New FrontierFaulks Heroine Is Mary Van Der Linden, A Pretty, Reserved Englishwoman Whose Husband, Charlie, Is Posted To The British Embassy In Washington One Night At A Cocktail Party Mary Meets Frank Renzo, A Reporter Who Has Covered Stories From The Fall Of Dienbienphu To The Emmett Till Murder Trial In Mississippi Slowly, Reluctantly, They Fall In Love Their Ensuing Affair, In All Its Desperate Elation, Plays Out Against A Backdrop That Ranges From The Jazz Clubs Of Greenwich Village To The Smoke Filled Rooms Of The Kennedy Campaign A Romance In The Grand Tradition That Is Also A Neon Lit Portrait Of America At Its Apogee, On Green Dolphin Street Is Sebastian Faulks At The Peak Of His Powers I loved this book didn t want it to end I was so sucked into Mary Frank s romance.Set during the election campaign of Nixon JFK we meet Mary, wife of Charlie, and Frank Frank is a newspaper reporter and Mary and Charlie are part of the British diplomatic service based in Washington DC Mary and Frank meet at a party at Mary and Charlie s house Charlie is inebriated, and is for most of the book Mary, on a trip to NYC without Charlie, finds herself in contact with Frank and the rest, as they say, is history Interspersed with historical references, this is the account of an extramarital affair It isn t especially graphic in detail the affair is strongly suggested Some reviews suggest it s a slow story but for me it set a good pace and it was one of those books I kept wanting to read and wanting of. A beautiful book that was a very thoughtful gift There is so much to recommend this book that I do not have the words to describe so my review is simply that this will go into my top 20 books ever. This novel takes place in the late fifties and early sixties, when Americans were leading comfortable lives and the jazz music of Miles Davis and Charlie Parker was gaining popularity Communism was the dreaded enemy of the time and anxiety over Russian weaponry and secret agents fueled fear that America might be losing the Cold War In this heady mix, John F Kennedy, a young, charming and rich presidential hopeful, was in the midst of a campaign for the highest office in the land, although there were fears among many about what a Catholic presidency would mean for the country Such is the backdrop of Sebastian Faulk s story about two men and a woman struggling to find satisfying lives and personal happiness All three have been affected by the experience of past wars, experience which continues to haunt their present lives Charles van der Linden is a British diplomat posted to Washington, a man who is a recognized expert in American politics and who some believe has close ties to the entourage surrounding Kennedy Charles is in trouble not only with his health but with his life His investments are worth barely a third of what they were three years ago and he has borrowed money and changed brokers twice, but to no avail His finances remain precarious and he is quickly descending into a financial black hole from which he may never recover Although he has three children, he wishes he had none They are expensive, wearisome and complicate his life In his position as a high flying diplomat, he lives a life with swanky parties, subsidized education for his children and frequent travel to exotic and interesting locales But airplane flights terrify him and he cannot board a plane without downing three sedatives and half a bottle of scotch Charlie s drinking is completely out of control and he hardly eats solid food any, his hangovers of the past replaced with unending days of gastric upheaval He once had a life that interested him, but the world has disappointed him and he is now bored and disillusioned He feels there is no point in his work, nothing he does could not be done by someone else and he has no outlet for the deep rage that lies inside him that storms and rattles him every day of his life If it wasn t for his wife Mary, there would be nothing left for him to live for and he would finish it all He is quite simply on the brink of a mental and physical breakdown Mary is a diplomat s gift, always the supportive wife who looks just right, can mingle with the other wives, gives wonderful parties and even converses with the most intolerable of their friends She makes all the decisions about the children, the house and how they live All Charlie has to do is keep his career on track, a responsibility he no longer is able to bear Mary s view of the world is completely different from Charlie s She is a woman who loves living and is devoted to her children, her parents and her husband She knows Charlie is drinking heavily but she is quietly holding things together Although she is his wife, these days she is acting like a mother to him Things change after the children leave for boarding school and Frank Renzo a newspaper reporter attends a party at Charlie and Mary s Washington townhouse Frank has been sent to Washington by his paper to do a piece on how people are viewing the upcoming election When he meets Mary he feels a connection, so much so he fabricates an accident and goes back to the house once the party is over Frank and Charlie spend the rest of the evening drinking while Mary tends Frank s injured hand Frank reminds Charlie they met long ago when both of them were in Indochina, but Charlie remembers nothing of that meeting Frank has been working to get back in the good graces of his editor after two incidents which have set back his career His reporting during the McCarty years put him in the crosshairs of Hoover and the FBI and his editor received a warning Things got worse when the reports he sent back from Mississippi on the racist murder of fourteen year old Emmett Till and the subsequent trial of two white men accused of his murder were out of sync with those done by other reporters and he was in trouble once again He is outraged at people who make it impossible for those in his profession to report accurately what they see and hear without fear of reprisals After paying his penance by reporting on low profile issues, he is hoping to restart his career by reporting on the upcoming election When Mary is on a visit to New York, Frank who lives in Greenwich Village offers to show her the sights The two wander around the city, spending their time in a very different way than Mary would if she was with Charlie They share a bohemian experience, sampling life and food in the Bowery, Bleecker Street and the Village, going places Mary would never go by herself Although Mary seems an unlikely candidate for infidelity, she and Frank fall into a passionate affair and Mary must ultimately make a choice between leaving her alcoholic husband or living the passionate life she has experienced only once before with her former lover David who was killed in the war Mary battles internally with the need to support her husband, her fierce love for her children and her intense physical desire for Frank During the affair she has periods where she feels shame, believing she is not the kind of woman who would do what she is doing But she also realizes this is her last chance for true happiness.Faulks, well known for his beautiful writing is not one to indulge in a romantic love story But this novel is much than that Its characters are well drawn and their inner turmoil wrenchingly dramatized Faulks uses his descriptive powers to bring the reader to the mucky trenches of the war, the off beat smoky jazz haunts and the sights and sounds of New York City He continues these detailed descriptions, bringing to life Mary s nerve racking trip to Moscow with its seedy, dirty, time worn hotel rooms, complete with rust stained tubs, unadorned lightbulbs and hidden listening devices secreted but barely hidden behind the cracked covers of old light switches The scenes of Mary s dying mother and the time spent with her grieving father in London are especially well done and clearly the strongest in the book At that time, Mary and her father s exhaustion after days of staying up with Elizabeth is keenly felt and their quiet conversation after her death is poignantly rendered, easily bringing to mind a reader s personal experience with a similar event Faulks reminds us of the lasting aftermath of war, how it continues to affect people after the last guns sound, never finished with those who participated in the carnage It haunts their dreams, forces them to question their motives and explores how they felt both during and after the horrible act of killing another human being He also explores the commonly experienced conundrum of individual choice Does one make choices based on one s own needs or the needs of those who depend on you an evocation of the age old dilemma of love versus duty.There is an inherent sadness about this novel, a seeping melancholy that pervades its pages and hints at further sadness to come Happiness is presented as a temporary experience, celebrated when it occurs before time pulls back to the burdens, obligations and encumbrances of everyday life Faulks is a celebrated and gifted story teller who continues to successfully provide the reader with fine writing This novel is certainly no exception.