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GRIT - The Banter and Brutality of the Late-Night Cab Driver [Kindle Edition]

Karl Wiggins
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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  • Length: 177 pages
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Book Description

British Grit-Lit

The world of the Cab Driver is uncertain and dangerous

It is populated by oddballs, weirdoes, comedians, eccentrics, head cases, prima donnas and hard cases. And they’re just the drivers.

Enter the ludicrous, humorous and sometimes violent world of the London cab driver; you never know what to expect, and during my years driving cabs I got myself into some scrapes.

Luckily I’ve met and befriended many characters along the way, and their stories deserve to be told.

In the last third of the book, I recall my time spent driving cab in the projects of Watts, Los Angeles, home of the infamous Crips and Bloods, during the early 80’s. I’ve intended to paint an ominous picture of a community destroyed by drugs, guns and violence. You’ll almost smell the omnipresent whiff of cheap wine, and feel the dirty lino under your feet.

Read the true life adventures of an English lad as he struggles to make a living amongst ‘gangstas’ who are arguably the most violent in the United States.

If you enjoy True Crime Books, London Crime Books or True Crime Streets of LA then take a chance on this one

For anyone who has puked in the back of a cab, then argued over the fare at 3am, this book is your driver’s revenge.

People have always told me I’m a natural storyteller, but like every good Taxi Driver I have an opinion on a range of hot issues. Comments on my writing style warn that I "talk to the reader with all the confidence of a man in touch with his own reality, in a voice which is seasoned with a hint of world weariness that is so telling of a writer who has written what he knows and written it with disarming fearlessness." And that I guess is true.

You’ll be able to hear my characters, see them and, in some instances, actually smell them. They’ll leave their stain on you. You may well be able to relate to guys who used their fists and their wits, you may laugh at their humour and get their jokes, but it’ll be the thugs with guns and no soul who will unsettle you. I want you to be scared of them.

Come and have a look at the world through my eyes.

“Can I just say I'm not a real big sit down and read sort of guy.... But this book had me hooked from the 1st few lines. I've never finished a book this quickly. Highly recommended to anyone!!”

“Absolutely incredible! I read the sample and had to buy the book. I usually never buy books and just find them online but I had to make the exception for this due to the author's eloquence. The stories are really funny and serious when they need to be. I definitely would recommend this to anyone that is looking for a genuinely straight up genius work. Karl Wiggins is like a contemporary Socrates.” (BLIMEY!)

“GRIT is rather like driving what one of Karl’s characters might term a ‘dodgy motor’. You climb in and then before you know it you are coasting in fifth, top down, Ray-Bans on, wind in your hair, lovely! Suddenly you grind to a disturbing, hissing halt. Karl drops a spanner in the works, a bag of sugar into his cavernous tank of diesel fuelled wisdom and you stall in awestruck wonder at his incredible insight. So there you are, stranded in the rush hour, gob open and with no option but to stop, gather your thoughts, catch your breath and carry on, because by this time you’re unstoppable.”

“Karl Wiggins is a natural storyteller, and ‘GRIT’ is a compulsive read, bringing to life all the not-so-ordinary people and places that are generally under-represented in literature. His direct, easy-going style and zest for living are infectious.”

“GRIT had me laughing out loud several times, which doesn’t happen often to me.”

Scroll up and click on the cover of the book to ‘Look inside’

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 613 KB
  • Print Length: 177 pages
  • Publisher: Karl Wiggins; 3 edition (3 Dec. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00B0QMZ42
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #141,381 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Karl Wiggins - Author, humourist and raconteur

My goal, my life's ambition if you like, is to give direction to comedy, purpose to satire. And this is probably why I write the way I do, in order to use self-deprecating, piss-taking humour to bring to the fore situations that just don't stack up. To demonstrate that serious issues can be approached with humour.

Embarrassingly, a number of the reviews for my books seem to involve people losing control of their bladder; "Anyone who is a bit saucy, very fond of boobies and doesn't mind peeing slightly when they laugh too hard, this is the book for you!" "Best not to read this book on the train if you have a full bladder because by the end of your journey you will have a damp patch in an embarrassing place." "I have to admit that I wet myself twice while reading it but this may in part have been due to my age and a couple of bottles of a fine St. Emilion," "Due to the laughter you owe my secretary one clean pair of knickers."

Two reviewers have even suggested I should tour as a stand-up comedian; "I found myself laughing out-loud and even sharing segments with my spouse ..... I think Karl could tour as a stand-up comedian," "Mr Wiggins has views on life that are expressed in a manner worthy of any stand-up comedian."

So my scribblings do seem to raise a smile and a chuckle, and either way you look at it, that has to be a good thing. Hardly any subject is taboo to the Englishman when he's laughing, and this often seems insensitive to other cultures, but the bedrock of the British sense of humour is a strong sense of sarcasm and self-deprecation. The British can be very passionate - and if you doubt that try going to a football match - but that passion is often hidden deep in our humour so that other nationals often fail to recognise the deadpan delivery and are never too sure if they've been involved in a serious conversation or just a little bit of friendly banter.

Having said that my style of writing is now appealing more and more to the American market, and I write a regular column for a newsletter in Copiague, Long Island, New York. I'm really enjoying connecting with the people over there.

Interestingly enough, my writing style has been compared to two people, both now dead, Charles Bukowski and Socrates. Their names keep popping up in reviews; "Mr Bukowski, meet Socrates. This is an exceptionally amusing collection of observations of daily life," "The prose style reminded me quite a lot of Charles Bukowski's short essays and observations," "It reminded me a lot of Bukowski's novels, but particularly Factotum and Post Office," "Had me laughing out loud several times, which doesn't happen often to me. It reminded me a lot of Bukowski's novels," (I swear those are two completely separate reviewers), "Karl Wiggins is like a contemporary Socrates."

I'm sure both Socrates and Charles Bukowski would turn in their graves. But then again, maybe not.

I currently have seven books on Amazon;

'You Really Are Full of Shit, Aren't You?' I know full well you've read these Agony Aunt or Advice Columns in newspapers or magazines you've found lying about in the dentist's or doctor's waiting room, and like me you've probably wanted to jump into the page, grab the whining git by the ears and shout, "Listen to yourself, will you? You need to sort yourself out!"

Or alternatively, you've got so sick of the patronising, condescending advice puked up by these so-called experts in their field that you've longed for someone to come along who takes no crap! Well that's me. I cut them no slack whatsoever. Just have a taster of this book and I'm sure you'll want to read more.

'Dogshit Saved my Life' is another of my books. Now I'm the first to admit that it might not be to everyone's taste, but I received fantastic reviews from my book 'Calico Jack in your Garden' and 'Dogshit' follows along the same lines.

'Shit my History Teacher DID NOT tell me' kind of speaks for itself I guess, as does 'Grit - The Banter & Brutality of the Late0Night Cab Driver.' which I describe as British Grit-Lit.

'Words are our Sorcery,' however is totally different to anything else I've ever written. There's some poetry and for the foodies amongst you I've also taken an interest in the parallel lives of the writer and the chef. How the chef creates his magic in the chaotic environment of the kitchen compares well to how writers create their hocus-pocus in the peace and quiet of the study. A chef's wizardry is in his ingredients, whilst a writer's sorcery is in his words. I've taken an alternate view of religions and I've finished the book with some fatherhood stories that I hope will bring a tear to you eye.

And with the help of several other authors, I've also published a book on self-publishing. It's called 'Self-Publishing! In the Eye of the Storm!' My objectives with this book are a) to demonstrate to those just about to publish their first book the amount of work they should expect to put in afterwards, b) to perhaps offer direction, to advise on what works and what doesn't, and, I guess c) to establish for the reader just how hard authors have to graft to promote their work, which is why I've included pieces from various authors, who all deserve my recognition and gratitude for demonstrating their often contradictory points of view. What worked for some, bombed when fellow authors tried the same tack, so it's crucial that I'm true to myself and present the Indie industry in a genuinely transparent form.

I love to hear from readers, whether your views are positive or even if you've hated my books. Please contact me here or on Twitter at @hobokarl to let me know how you enjoyed the writing or just to shoot the breeze.

I ALWAYS make every effort to reply back to everyone.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like Listening to a Mate 22 Jan. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
I've always enjoyed non-fiction and this book is a reason why. It felt like I was down at the local pub listening to a mate tell me about his exploits as a cabbie. His hilarious and sometimes butt-clenching stories had me thanking my lucky stars that I never became a cab driver.

Shortly into the book I kind of made up my mind that it would only ever be a four star book because it lacked structure. But by about the fourth or fifth chapter, I decided that was the author's voice and it made for an engaging read -- I became hooked on his style and enjoyed it. I liked the random ramblings and he never lost the point while digressing and the tangents he went onto were always interesting. The personal interjections were great (whether one agrees with the author's opinion or not). It all added to the flavor of his experiences. Cab drivers are notoriously opinionated and this book proves it, and that is its great strength and charm (I'm sure Mr. Wiggins will get a giggle that a found his book charming.)

I would also add for the would be readers, this is written by a Londoner and as a Londoner speaks. There are no airs and graces which keeps it authentic. Non-British readers may be slightly perplexed by some of the lingo and jargon, but trust me, you'll know what he means. Laughter is international, and as long as you're not sensitive to politically incorrectness, this book will make you laugh.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth reading 19 Sept. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Through his contact with thousands of people during a variety of jobs the author has become an astute observer of human nature and he uses his insights to great effect when relating his experiences as a mini-cab driver.

The writing is honest, the characters are described with the kind of detail that brings them to life on the page and the author does not shy away from the sometimes brutal encounters in a mini-cab driver's job.

The author has strongly-held views which are put forward with intelligence and though I may not agree with all of them there is no doubting the eloquence with which they are argued.

Personally I found the chapters that deal with his time in Los Angeles fascinating.

As well as being a good read (I laughed out loud several times) the book has surprising depth to it and is thought-provoking. It is pleasing on many levels and I recommend it as well worth reading.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GRIT 9 Oct. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Superb tales of life as a mini cab driver in the UK and America. Razor-sharp narrative with vivid recollections of brutality, comic and culture. The writer delivers with incredible honesty and a vibrant authenticity. His characters are so well drawn, they're 3D. Bursting with the kind of lacerating wit that makes your guts ache. Highly entertaining, with lashings of the bizarre and peculiar. Purchase a copy sharpish.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
By Chloe
Format:Kindle Edition
GRIT by Karl Wiggins is yet another of his humorous, honest slices of life told in only a way this Londoner can do to make you feel you personally know all the birds, lads, and other assorted characters fortunate enough to cross his path. I'm addicted to his wicked sense of humor, but bought GRIT because I'd lived in NYC and taken enough cab rides, I was sure I'd seen and heard it all. Things are quite different across the pond.

With razor-sharp wit, Wiggins throws out tidbits about almost every facet of his life to enlighten us and invoke smiles and chuckles from the get-go. Now, just as importantly, Wiggins makes the most of mundane moments (which we all have) and leaves us in deep thought between snickering and full on outbursts of laughter.

GRIT is not just about life inside a cab and the variety of nitwits and norms who pay (or sometimes don't) the fares. I adored reading about all his various mates, and admit Wiggins' depiction of Ronnie Brazil drew me instantly to the curly hair man who was ablaze with energy, and I was ready to let "brazen" Brazil pour a pitcher/pint over my head anytime. I don't drink often enough but love to walk into a bar with a great atmosphere that makes me smile. And this is what opening a Karl Wiggins book does for me. I'm still smiling as I type this review.

And PLEASE don't pass his "About The Author" section at the end of GRIT. It's bonus humor, and offered me even more information about this writer with the mischievous sparkle in his eye.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just Like Listening to the Man Himself 19 April 2013
By Red
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a very conversational non-fiction about the life of a cab driver. Karl tells you all about his crazy mates and the crazy passengers he's had (and some dangerous people he's met on his travels). It does make you feel you're sat with him listening to him tell you his stories because of the way it is written. Definitely worth the read.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An excellent insight into the gritty world of a mini cab driver both in the UK and on the other side of the pond.

The author recalls his experience as a mini cab driver, light hearted to violent and everywhere in between.

Clearly recalled from personal experience and written with humour and honesty.

Thoroughly entertaining an easy and entertaining read written from the heart.

Do yourself a favour and get yourself a copy.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 3 April 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really recommend this book. It is full of amusing and interesting tales from the authors experiences as a taxi driver. It is very funny at times. A full and frank book that pulls no punches, I respect the fact the author speaks his mind honestly on the thoughts and feelings he has towards some of the passengers, people he's experienced and indeed people he has worked with.

Excellent stuff.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars TAXI!
From one taxi driver to another - a great book, Karl! I'll definitely be looking at picking up some of your other titles.
Published 5 months ago by solaar
5.0 out of 5 stars Realism
This is a realist look at the world as seen from the perspective of a London cabbie. Drama, humour,'s all here.
Published 7 months ago by Hunter S. Jones
4.0 out of 5 stars old mates
Feels just like a friend is chatting to you. I liked Karl's style. This book is frothy, easy to read, funny .... at times scary, every emotion you would wish to feel is covered.
Published 14 months ago by Lisa-Jaine
5.0 out of 5 stars Grit
Really good read,Boy does he take a chance sometime where his pick ups were,just ordered the next book on offer from Karl, looking forward to reading it, should be a very good... Read more
Published 15 months ago by joy page
3.0 out of 5 stars Average....have read better!
I thought it would be an excellent book having read the reviews of other readers however in my opinion it was very disappointing & does not justify a 5 star rating like some would... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Just Me
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
Takes people watching to a whole new level. Great insight and even a history lesson to put things in context. Brilliant read.
Published 15 months ago by S. Thurgood
5.0 out of 5 stars Great. Grit.
I loved this book about a cabby plying his trade in areas fairly local to me. Some of the situations he finds himself in, with these bizarre characters walking into his life, or... Read more
Published 23 months ago by james
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
Was interesting to read the experiences but towards the end I got bored with the American side of it. If you like real life then this is worth a read.
Published on 28 April 2013 by Groovee
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome read
Can I just say I'm not a real big sit down and read sort of guy.... But this book had me hooked from the 1st few lines. I've never finished a book this quickly. Read more
Published on 22 April 2013 by Dean mitchell
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