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I'm a great fan of London, and enjoy reading on and around the subject.  Whilst much of that is non-fiction (and I've started a topic on that in the non-fiction forum), there's an amazing range of novels centred on London, or at least featuring the city as a major 'character'.  I've written reviews of some of these on my thread in the Reading Blog forum, but think they warrant one to themselves here - they are effectively a genre in their own right. I hope others will add to this, but to start off with, I've copied some of those reviews over here, beginning with one that went straight on to my favourites list (ratings are from 1 - 6 stars, 6 being reserved for books that go on my favourites list). 

 

BTW, a great website for reviews of London novels is Jeff Cotton's Fictional Cities website (he also covers Venice and Florence), one that I refer to regularly.
 
King Solomon's Carpet by Barbara Vine ******
I first heard of this book barely a week before reading, mentioned as it was almost in passing by Ooshie on the May 2013 Reading Circle nominations thread. The main thrust of the book, following a disparate group of individuals who make up the household of what is now an ex-schoolhouse and whose lives as Barbara Vine writes it centre around their journeys and experiences on the London Underground, was one that instantly appealed. For once this year, the book lived up to the blurb!

The story is one of those where individual lives, imitially largely independent, gradually weave together, or at least interact, to contribute to a greater whole: each thread is seen very much from the point of view of whichever protagonist is being focused on at that point, enabling the author to really get her teeth into the characters, who really do come fully alive, if almost universally damaged in some way. Gradually the threads pull together, building up into an increasingly dark series of events, the last denouement being acted out on the very last page. Looming through it all is the underground itself - very much a character in its own right, and not an overly friendly one at that either, with its dark tentacles spreading throughout London, those tentacles providing the subtext to and many of the connections between events and lives.

This was definitely my type of book, satisfying on pretty much every level, and sufficiently 'different' to provide a refreshing change to much of the all too predictable writing I had waded through in the weeks beforehand, mostly for reading groups. With holiday available, I was able to read the last couple of hundred pages at one sitting and I loved every second. Thank you Ooshie!

Edited by willoyd

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A Far Cry from Kensington by Muriel Spark ***
Set in the 1950s, this is Agnes Hawkins's own retrospecctive account of her late twenties, living in a rooming house in Kensington and working in the publishing industry for a succession of the then plethora of small publishers - now mostly subsumed to the big names.

This is very much a book of its time and place, mid-twentieth century London, and my favourite passages are very much where she describes people or places, such as her introductory thumbnail sketches of the residents of 14 Church End Villas, or of the employees of Ullswater and York. Simple, almost simplistic, they are masterpieces of summary, evoking detailed images in surprisingly few words.

Threaded through with a number of interconnected subplots and themes, including the mystery behind the persecution of one of the rooming house's other residents, the idiosyncratic nature of the respective publishers Agnes (mainly known as Mrs Hawkins throughout the novel) works for, and the repercussions of her outspoken honesty as the effects pursue her through at least three different jobs, the writing maintains a lightness and simplicity (that word again!) that makes the book very easy to read, but also occasionally leaves it feeling almost inconsequential. This is probably a mistake: the author is almost certainly saying a whole lot more than at first appears to be the case, but, whilst I really enjoyed this book, I couldn't get away from this feeling of triviality. This seems to be the case for a number of mid-twentieth century authors of a certain type - I'm thinking for instance of Barbara Pym. I'm sure they are much better writers than this, but, whilst I enjoy their books and will continue to read them with great pleasure, I do feel that I'm not always getting the most out of them.

So - pleasurable, almost addictive, but also a mite frustrating! Certainly worth some exploration though, the three stars reflecting more my immediate level of enjoyment rather than my estimation of its quality as a piece of writing, for which I would probably be more generous.

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Capital by Maureen Duffy ****
A book that I found difficult to pin down. At the heart of the novel is Meepers, homeless, living in a sequence of outbuildings and tower blocks found through his knowledge of the city, a self-made expert on London history, particularly the Roman period and the Dark Ages, obsessed with whether London ceased to exist or not during this period, and what that means for the future. Interspersed with vignettes from London's past and the letters to his distant partner of Emery, the more establishment orientated academic who rejected Meeper's submissions for publication, but who then finds himself building up a relationship, even friendship, with Meepers, the whole provides a view of London that precedes the likes of Ian Sinclair, Peter Ackroyd and others - psychogeography in all but name - depicting the city at a time of severe change (the book was written in 1975, with Thatcherism and its impact on the capital still over the horizon (Duffy was being thoroughly prescient).

If that all sounds a bit too abstract or nouveau to make enjoyable reading, I found Capital a thoroughly engrossing, entertaining, and intriguing read. Ultimately, it's a character centred novel, the character being London itself. It may have been written some forty or so years ago, but much, indeed most, is still pertinent today - but then some cities are timeless, or at least feel that way to those who inhabit them.

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Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens *****

Dickens is one of the great writers on London, and many of his books feature the city prominently.  That's certainly the case in Oliver Twist, and I've spent many a happy hour wandering streets to find the sites, even if they are all rather different nowadays (posh apartments instead of slum rookeries!).  Oliver Twist is also one of those books that's deeply embedded in our culture: just think of the iconic figure asking for more, and the roll call of well known characters of the likes of the Artful Dodger (a surprisingly minor character in the book), Fagin, Bill Sykes, Nancy and Mr Bumble. It's one of those books that we think we know, even if we've never read it. And as with so many of that ilk, once I actually sat down to read it, it was so much more complex and more deeply drawn than any of the derivations.

 

Even so, I was still surprised at what a good book OT actually turned out to be. It's obviously earlier Dickens.  The writing, even when dealing with some pretty black affairs, is much lighter, and the language is (a bit) more straightforward; there is a strong streak of ironic humour which is less apparent in some of his later works. However, the plotting is hallmark Dickens, as are the London settings, and his handling of the characters, with his oh so nice hero, his overly sentimental view of any female younger than thirty, his villains drawn in the blackest of inks (although I developed a sneaking regard for Fagin) and his usual roster of larger than life minor characters. It doesn't quite achieve the full six stars though, not least because Dickens really does overdo the coincidence. The one upon which the plot hinges I could just about handle - they do happen - but there are one or two more minor ones later on where I just metaphorically threw my hands up in despair! But there again, that's hallmark Dickens - totally overegging the pudding! Bearing all that in mind, it remains one that I would thoroughy recommend, and, being one of his slimmer volumes, a book that would provide a newcomer with a great taste of whether they might enjoy the rest of Dickens's work.

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Capital by John Lanchester ****

Capital has had very mixed reviews, largely on the negative side, and I can see why. It's one of those multi-threaded novels, with several parallel stories running at the same time, the one common point being that they are all based in or around a street in South London, and that all the residents have been subject to some sort of slightly threatening campaign by a mystery individual. There is an irony here, in that the campaign is all about "We Want What You've Got", yet none of the recipients can understand why - they'd happily exchange quite a bit of what they've got for something else!
The problem is, though, that few of the stories every really connect: they largely stay separate throughout. Equally, the characters themselves are all somewhat stereotypical: the banker anxious about his bonus with his shopaholic wife, the Asian family at the corner shop, the last 'original' (I.e. born in the street) inhabitant, the Polish builder, etc et, all a bit superficial. And some fairly obvious things happen (it is all pretty predictable). It's certainly not a patch on some other 'London novels' like Michael Moorcroft's Mother London or Norman Collins's London Belongs To Me (both superb!). And yet.....
And yet, I raced through it, and really enjoyed it. Whilst it was predictable, I still wanted to know what happened and how things were going to turn out; I found most of the characters very 'normal' and likeable (apart from the shopaholic wife!), even if I didn't like individual characteristics. They weren't drawn with any great depth, we didn't get any great insights, but at the end I felt that this what life is like. So, not a great book, certainly not as great as it feels the author is aspiring to with way too many flaws, but an enjoyable, readable one, that I found I wanted to keep reading to the end.  For sheet compulsive readability it deserves a four star rating.

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Tom-All-Alone's by Lynn Shepherd *****
A classic Victorian detective mystery in the tradition of Bleak House and The Woman in White (two of my favourite books) set in classic Victorian London. Indeed, Lynn Shepherd actually positions her novel in a gap between the two stories in such a way that incidents and characters cross over backwards and forwards almost seamlessly between the Victorian novels and their modern counterpart. It's not necessary to have read these classics beforehand, but it certainly adds to the enjoyment if one has. Several of these characters fill out convincingly - for instance the lawyer Tulkinghorn from Bleak House is developed so much further in Shepherd's book. Even more enjoyable are the twists that the author adds; you think you've spotted a parallel, and then she turns things on their head and you realise, very pleasurably, that you've been had.

I loved the settings - this is truly the London of Dickens - and I thoroughly enjoyed the panoply of characters, none less than the central character, Charles Maddox. At one point, I did think that the literary parallels were starting to grate, but then Shepherd picked the pace up and started really developing her own take on the characters, and any sense of irritation evaporated. But above all, I enjoyed the story, and the twists and turns of one of the most intriguing plots I've encountered in a long while. It doesn't surprise me that the reviews on Amazon are so positive: these are no puffs, the book really does deserve the praise. I can't wait to try her earlier novel, Murder at Mansfield Park.

Edited by willoyd

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Liza of Lambeth by W. Somerset Maugham ***
Maugham's first published novel, and to be honest, it feels a bit like that - lots of potential, but a bit rough and ready. Tells the story of the downfall of Liza through an affair with a married man. I didn't appreciate the fact that it was written to try and show the characters' South London accents, the sort of affectation which ninety-nine times out of a hundred is simply annoying and spoils what I'm reading. This wasn't one of the 1%!

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The Lambs of London by Peter Ackroyd ****(*)
Peter Ackroyd is one of the most versatile writers I know, one of the few who is capable of producing great fiction and non-fiction. Much of his fiction is based on history, and much steeped in the spirit of London, and The Lambs of London is an excellent example of both. There is no doubt though that this IS fiction: Ackroyd has taken two unrelated threads -Mary Lamb's notorious mental deterioration and the Shakespearean mysteries surrounding William Ireland, a London bookdealer of the time - and twisted them together to create a thoroughly satisfying story, but one which must not be mistaken for being historically accurate: there is no record of Ireland and the Lambs meeting, and Ackroyd deliberately alters other key facts to suit. On the way, he brings eighteenth century London alive in the way that only he can with his deceptively straighforward but tactile prose.

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The Years by Virgina Woolf ******

Virginia Woolf regarded this as one of her failures, and it's often dismissed fairly rapidly by critics, but I loved it.  But then, as Susan Hill suggests in her introduction, this is because they rate it against the ambitions Woolf had for the novel, whereas it turned out somewhat differently.  Personally, I was completely enthralled by the wonderful images that Woolf is able to generate.  Again quoting Hill, this is a novel of London "par excellence.  She is matchless at conjuring up the atmosphere of its streets and squares and terraces, at different times of the year, of the day and night, matchless at conveying the subtle differences between districts.  The smells, sights, the feel of the life of London going about its business are vivid for us on almost every page."

 

But for me the real strength is her portrayal of character, and in this book her ability to bring out her character's feelings in so few words, her internalised style of writing pulling me right in to the narrative. She demands that you read every word and line - miss one thing and you can lose your way in seconds. I loved also the way she took micro snapshots - individual days every few years - to get inside the history of the Pargiter family.

 

I have to admit the last scene at the party (occupying some 80 pages or so) lost me a bit, not really picking up until the last few pages, as dawn arrived, but I did read this when quite tired myself, and my concentration levels weren't that high, something of which, as I said, Woolf is very unforgiving!  Overall though this certainly got thoroughly under my skin, and I will almost certainly reread in the not too distant future.

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The Rivers of London by Ben Aaronavitch *****

Police procedural meets a grown up version of Harry Potter - it's grittier and wittier. I read this avidly in just two sittings. Peter Grant is a probationary PC in the Met, who meets a ghost as witness to a murder. He comes to the attention of DCI Nightingale, who transpires to be in charge (and the only member!) of one of the more obscure Met departments - magic. Grant gets to be appointed as his assistant/apprentice, and the book then takes off into the murkier side of the capital, including vampires, ghosts, revenants, gods and goddesses of the rivers (they are prominent characters, hence the title) etc, and a crime all wrapped up in London history and geography. I loved the way it is firmly bedded in the readily identifiable city. Intended as the first in a series, and if they are as good as this, it'll be a must for me.

 

Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronavitch ****

Sequel up to Rivers of London. Maintained the same high standards.

 

Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch ****

This is the third in the series featuring Peter Grant, a detective constable in the Metropolitan Police, who finds that he has a particular sensitivity to the supernatural, gets assigned to The Folly, the branch of the Met dealing with ghosts, ghouls, wizards and their ilk (a branch consisting of one wizard, DCI Nightingale!), and takes off into a London that none of us have really encountered before. And yet we have: Aaronovitch's geography is unnervingly true to life, it's just the supernatural element that changes everything.

 

First warning - one really does need to read this series in order - this would be far harder to make good sense of read out of sequence, and there are too many threads that continue through the series for one to want to do otherwise. Having said that, this episode has its own unique aspects, taking Grant and the rest of the team (it's grown by one now!) into subterranean London - there are some thrilling scenes in the Underground and sewer system. To that end, there are strong elements of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere here, but for some reason I much prefer Aaronovitch's take. I think it's because it feels so much more rooted in the 'real' world. and in characters who I can relate to. Apart from the Harry Potter series and Lord of the Rings, I'm not a great fan of fantasy, but this series manages to sufficiently straddle the real/fantasy borderlines to keep me enthralled, and I completed this book in one weekend (barely two sittings) as a very satisfying break from work. I think it's because Aaronovitch doesn't take the books too seriously - there is a dry, almost cynical, and very British sense of humour about them that marks the series out from the mainstream, and keeps me coming back for more. I also love the way the different supernatural characters (especially the river gods and goddesses, most prominently Lady Ty - goddess of the Tyburn) are so effectively integrated into a London that I can completely relate to - indeed the whole way the magic manifests itself. It just works in a way that hasn't elsewhere (for instance, I can't say I rated Neverwhere particularly highly).

 

The first volume remains my favourite - maybe because it was so different at the time, but the series as a whole is turning into a favourite, one of the very few where I will buy the books as soon as they are published - no waiting for paperback versions!

Edited by willoyd

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Blackout and All Clear by Connie Willis ****

 

The first thing to note about this novel is that it's split into two books. Literally. All Clear starts immediately where Blackout finishes, and there's no 'conclusion' to the latter - much to many readers' frustration, as there is no indication of this in either book. Must have been intensely annoying for early readers, with Blackout being published several months in advance of its follow-on. And that is why they are linked in this review.

 

The books use the same conceit employed in Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog, where late 21st century Oxford historians time travel into the past to research for their degrees, with consequent adventures, often involving time travel issues. This story is set in WW2 London, where 3 students are separately stuck in the early months of the war. Spread across the two books, it's a huge story - over 1000 pages - encompassing the whole war as various strands are followed, with chapters used to move between the stories. Big as the subject is, the story could and should have been a lot shorter, the editors doing Willis no favours in indulging her - it's obviously a project that grew!

 

In spite of this, and a number of other faults, I found myself totally wrapped up in the narrative; this was one where my heart definitely ruled my head in rating. The main protagonists weren't overly 3D, but many of the ancillary characters were, and this was important as one of the main themes was the small scale heroism shown throughout the war by many, many people, not just those fighting at the fronts. Indeed, the latter barely featured - this was definitely about the civilian war. The level of detail was huge - too much so for some Amazon reviewers - but as a result, I really felt I was in WW2. Unfortunately, there were some glaring mistakes, 5p being the price of a telephone call (although other prices were more old money), trunk calls being made at a pillar box, the existence of the Jubilee and Circle lines (I think the Victoria was in there somewhere too), the credit on the cover of Blackout being for 'St Patrick's Cathedral' (!!), with a picture of American bombers apparently bombing London, some awful Americanisms (which also featured in previous books) etc etc (slightly better in All Clear), and there were some points where you thought, why didn't they just....., but even with all of this, I so enjoyed the story telling, that I learned to live with them.

 

And that was the point. As a book (or books), this wasn't as accomplished as either of the predecessors, it was too long, and there were some too repetitious elements (the internal monologues), but as a story which grabbed me and kept hold of me, weaving in and out and through the civiian war, I didn't want to put it down, and ripped through the whole 1000+ pages in barely 5 days. Having said that, it doesn't surprise me that ratings on Amazon and elsewhere are so varied - this is definitely a love it or hate it book, and whilst I loved it, I can see why some people hated it.

Edited by willoyd

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I was just furiously scrolling down to make sure you had put the Aaronovitch's down Willoyd .. I knew you would have though :D

 

Dickens is king of London fiction isn't he? .. so many of his books have their roots there.

 

Other than those you've mentioned I can't think of many other London based novels. Pigeon English maybe? .. and Jamrach's Menagerie .. though a lot of that story took place on board ship. Brilliant London descriptions though :)

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I don't have much of a review, I'm afraid.  I read this in 2009 when I scored out of 10 and I gave it 7.  I remember enjoying it, but I don't recall all the detail!
 
Sweet Thames by Matthew Kneale

The ‘blurb’
London in the summer of 1849. With a deadly cholera epidemic threatening, young engineer Joshua Jeavons is convinced it is his mission to save the capital and reform its festering sewers. Meanwhile in his domestic life he is troubled by the baffling coldness shown towards him by his beautiful new bride, Isobella. As he struggles to win her round, he works feverishly on a revolutionary drainage plan. This is his dream, his dazzling vision of the future: a London free of effluent.

Then a sudden and mystifying disappearance throws his whole life upside-down. He is forced to embark on a harrowing search, which plucks him from his respectable life and throws him into a London previously unknown to him. A netherworld of slum-dwellers, pickpockets and scavengers of the sewers. He will find it is this very world that holds unexpected answers to the mysteries that surround him. 


Set during the Cholera epidemic of the 1840s, it tells the story of Joshua Jeavons who has plans to reform the sewage systems in London - and at the same time investigates the disappearance of his wife. The characters and story are loosely based on real people.

Whilst I didn't enjoy it as much as Kneale's English Passengers,
[which isn't set in London], it was a great story. I find his characterisation excellent and he is superb at painting a really vivid picture of Victorian London, both of the upper classes and the slum dwellers who live in close proximity in the city.

 

I think it's out of print now.

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Thanks Janet - I knew of Matthew Kneale, but hadn't even heard of the book. Must try and dig it out. Do you know if Joshua Jeavons based on Joseph Bazalgette?

Dickens is king of London fiction isn't he? .. so many of his books have their roots there.

 

Yes, I think I would agree, if nothing else for the volume as well as the quality! There are some others who have made London their own too - e.g. Peter Ackroyd, Ian Sinclair.

 

Other than those you've mentioned I can't think of many other London based novels.

 

Actually, I think we've barely scratched the surface!! Just to give you a quick taste, how about.....

 

Loads by Peter Ackroyd, e.g Hawksmoor, House of Doctor Dee, Clerkenwell Tales, Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem.

The Tiger in the Smoke - Margery Allingham

London Fields - Martin Amis

The L-Shaped Room - Lynn Reid Banks

The Heat of the Day - Elizabeth Bowen

Dead Man in Deptford - Anthony Burgess

Jack Maggs - Peter Carey

Wise Children - Angela Carter

The Great Stink - Clare Clarke

London Belongs To Me - Norman Collins

The Secret Agent - Joseph Conrad

various Sherlock Holmes - Arthur Conan Doyle

The Crimson Petal and the White - Michel Faber

Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman

Smith - Leon Garfield

New Grub Street - George Gissing

The End of the Affair - Graham Greene

Hangover Square - Patrick Hamilton

Various books by Lee Jackson (e.g. London Dust, A Most Dangerous Woman)

Saturday - Ian McEwan

The Frost Fair - Edward Marston

The Necropolis Railway - Andrew Martin

Mother London - Michael Moorcock

Bleeding London - Geoff Nicholson

The Quincunx - Charles Palliser

Dodger - Terry Pratchett

Various books by Ian Sinclair (e.g. White Chappell Scarlet Tracings, Downriver)

The Ballard of Peckham Rye - Muriel Spark

London Bridges - Jane Stevenson

Vanity Fair - William Thackeray

Vile Bodies - Evelyn Waugh

Other books by Virginia Woolf, e.g. Mrs Dalloway

 

and I've missed loads out!

Edited by willoyd

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I'm quite interested in London (both historical and modern day), I'll have to look into some of these titles :).

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Sorry Willoyd .. I did mean amongst those I had read which narrows the options considerably :D Though I had forgot about Vanity Fair. I did remember Neil Gaiman but thought I'd better not mention him ;) Also China Mieville has a similar book called Un-Lun-Dun .. but that takes place mostly in a parallel London (which is as unlike London as anything) so it's not really relevant. I've never read Peter Ackroyd though I have one of his somewhere. Must dig it out and take a look :) 

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So glad you enjoyed King Solomon's Carpet, Willoyd!  :)  Your list reminded me of The L Shaped Room too, I loved that trilogy and must try to get hold of it again - I think I read it in the 1970s.

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I've never read Peter Ackroyd though I have one of his somewhere. Must dig it out and take a look :) [/font]

One of my favourite writers. Given the quantity of output, it's almost inevitable he's had the occasional damp squib (First Light jumps to mind), but he's equally had some outstanding books. Hawksmoor is probably my favourite (although I know quite a few people wh don't rate it at all, and it has its frustrations), but books like Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem, The Clerkenwell Tales and The Lambs of London aren't a million miles behind. I also love the fact that he's as strong on non-fiction as fiction.

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I've only read a few Peter Ackroyd, but none of them London books!  I have enjoyed his writing though, and we have a lot of them in the house, so I'll probably read more at some point.

Edited by chesilbeach

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Thanks Janet - I knew of Matthew Kneale, but hadn't even heard of the book. Must try and dig it out. Do you know if Joshua Jeavons based on Joseph Bazalgette?

I have searched high and low and I can't find Sweet Thames anywhere.  :irked:

 

But yes, he's loosely based on Bazalgette.   There is also a character called Edwin Sleak-Cunningham, and he's based on Edwin Chatwick.   I think London is a wonderful city and I love the Victorian era, so this was always going to appeal to me. :)

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Also China Mieville has a similar book called Un-Lun-Dun .. but that takes place mostly in a parallel London (which is as unlike London as anything) so it's not really relevant. 

 

You can add his novel Kraken to the list as well.

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Willoyd, great lists!  Some I have not heard of before, so, thanks. :D

 

 

 Also China Mieville has a similar book called Un-Lun-Dun .. but that takes place mostly in a parallel London (which is as unlike London as anything) so it's not really relevant.  

Hmmm, sounds interesting, but does one have to know London to appreciate it?

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Interesting subject.  As I think many of you know, I'm passionate (to the point of tedium!) about London.  I'd certainly agree that anything by Patrick Hamilton is especially worth reading, and the novels by Norman Collins and Michael Moorcock are excellent too.

 

I'd also throw in a few more.  Alexander Baron's "The Lowlife", "King Dido" and "Rosie Hogarth" all deal with London's underbelly, while London Books (www.london-books.co.uk) is a small independent publisher that specialises in reprinting long-lost "classics", such as Gerald Kersh's "Night and the City", James Curtis' "The Gilt Kid" and Bob Westerby's "Wide Boys Don't Work".  Westerby, interestingly, went on to become a successful Hollywood scriptwriter, and Baron, too, made his living largely by writing for TV.

 

In addition, a couple of recent anthologies may be worth a look.  Iain Sinclair's "London: City of Disappearances" `brings together "a ragtag of verbose bibliomanes, psychogeographers, local historians, mythologizers, curators and visionaries in a dazzling anthology of overheard conversations, blind alleys, forgotten myths and half-held doctrines".  Sinclair's writing itself is an acquired taste, I'd say, but contributors range from Thomas de Quincey to Will Self, which I'd imagine is a reasonable definition of "something for everyone"! 

 

The other one is "London Fictions", edited by Andrew Whitehead and Jerry White.  "Two dozen contemporary writers, including novelists Cathi Unsworth and Courttia Newland and historians Sarah Wise and Rachel Lichtenstein, reflect on some of the novels and novelists that have helped define the modern city, from "Hangover Square" to "Brick Lane" and from George Gissing to Zadie Smith".

 

I have both these anthologies on the shelf, and I'm looking forward to reading them.

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In addition, a couple of recent anthologies may be worth a look.  Iain Sinclair's "London: City of Disappearances" ..... .....The other one is "London Fictions", edited by Andrew Whitehead and Jerry White.

 

I knew of the Sinclair (I agree about him personally being an acquired taste - mainly because I haven't acquired it yet!), but the Whitehead and White book is new to me and sounds interesting. I presume that's the same Jerry White who wrote the trilogy of London in the Xth century books?

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Hmmm, sounds interesting, but does one have to know London to appreciate it?

No not at all Pont .. you do have to get your head around walking (and talking) broken umbrellas though .. and that's just the tip of the iceberg. It's a weird sort of place full of London's discarded things .. only, they've come to life (and quite a lot of them are evil :D)

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