The Mayfair bookstore where Waugh was a customer and his friend Nancy Mitford was a manager is profiled in this week’s New York Times “T” magazine (“Shelf Life” p. 196). This is the Heywood Hill book store, in an article by Sarah Lyall. She describes part of the shop’s business as putting together book collections for the private libraries of those who don’t have sufficient time to do so themselves. They also offer specialized book of the month services and continue to stock books for walk-in customers (who are described as more smartly dressed than the average tourist). Waugh’s regular correspondence with Nancy Mitford began while she was running the shop, and he continued to correspond with the new manager, Handasyde Buchanan, after she left. As Waugh’s barber was located next door, he was probably a regular visitor as well. While not mentioned in the article, Waugh does get a visual notice. In the photo of the shop’s present manager Nicky Dunne, he is holding a small book with a bright red and blue cover that is, in fact, a U.K. first edition of Waugh’s last novel, Unconditional Surrender.
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