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Lights Out for the Territory [Paperback]

Iain Sinclair
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
RRP: 10.99
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Book Description

2 Oct 2003

'A book about London; in other words, a book about everything' Peter Ackroyd, The Times

Walking the streets of London, Iain Sinclair traces nine routes across the territory of the capital. Connecting people and places, redrawing boundaries both ancient and modern, reading obscure signs and finding hidden patterns, Sinclair creates a fluid snapshot of the city. In LIGHTS OUT FOR THE TERRITORY he gives us a daring, provocative, enlightening, disturbing and utterly unique picture of modern urban life. And in the process he reveals the dark underbelly of a London many of us did not know existed.

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Lights Out for the Territory + London Orbital + Psychogeography (Pocket Essentials)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (2 Oct 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141014830
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141014838
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 235,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'A book about London; in other words, a book about everything' Peter Ackroyd, The Times

About the Author

Iain Sinclair's books include LONDON ORBITAL, DOWNRIVER (James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Encore Award), and WHITE CHAPPELL, SCARLET TRACINGS. He lives in Hackney, East London.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinator 11 Oct 2010
I have only had time to dip in and out of this wonderful book because I am currently reading about life in Hackney also courtesy of Mr Sinclair.Suffice it to say that his prose is fluid,intelligent and a joy to read I especially enjoyed his account of a putative meeting with Lord Archer.Mr Sinclair's feeling and respect for the history,people and atmosphere of places he knows so well is lightly bourne and delivered in an easy,sumptuous style.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This is an excellent, eccentric and funny book bursting with ideas and descriptions of London, its hidden places and characters.Part history, part sociology, part travel and part weird ramblings, it defies definition and yet it works. The real deight is not knowing where you are going to be taken next. Sinclair's description of Archer and his penthouse is almost worth the cover price alone. Add to that a wonderful bibliography which could keep you busy for a couple of years. Sinclair works hard to entertain the reader on his extraordinary walks with his friend with razor sharp observations which stay in the mind. He sees connections between people and places which seemingly have nothing in common. Wordy and dense yes, but also richly entertaining. If you are interested in the Krays, Derek Raymond, Peter Fuller, Antonioni's "Blow Up", old London churches and cemetaries etc then you will love this heroic book. "Lights Out" will either become a cult book or be remaindered:probably both!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The resurfacing roads of my childhood 26 Feb 1999
By A Customer
You don't have to know the Bakers Arms, Walthamstow Tech, or Chingford Mount Cemetary as well as I do to enjoy this eye-opening journey by Iain Sinclair. The words jump off the walls, and encourages anyone to open their eyes next time they take a walk around their local patch. "Free George Davis," or "Nostalgia/Is/A/Weapon," the opinion of the streets becomes interwoven with documented fact and the myth and folk lore of a community. The only mystery, is how Mr. Sinclair missed Walthamstow Cemetary, Queens Road, and The Light House? Perhaps next time?
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the melting pot (of my brain) 15 Sep 2007
the subject is less than serious, and it's a clear reference to the fact that reading this book was really hard, also because I am not a native speaker of english and also because I lack the knowledge of "london" facts.
the subject also refers to the density of information, facts and knowledge on London (and not just london), that this book contains.
it's not been easy to read this book and it's not been easy to appreciate it. often I felt I was about to rule it out as a sort of english Umberto Eco (an intellectual showing off his encyclopedic knowledge of London).
but there is something genuine about Iain Sinclair, and it helped seeing him at a reading at the RFH to have a feeling of someone that is the opposite of a Umberto Eco: a down to earth person.
sometimes you have to let go, let the flow of information get lost in the short term memory; sometimes one has to stop and go back reread, take a note, find a post-it to mark the page, or perhaps even get the shoes, leave the comfort of a sunday read on the couch and venture to a part of London which is not necessarily safe or the best to be (that's in fact another problem: reading this book 12 years down the line doesn't help, because some of the london described by Iain Sinclair no longer exists or it has changed dramatically).
but this is hardly a book calling for a real walk around london: this book is about a long trip deep down in the soul of the city, in an invisible layer where an invisible network connects points , buildings, facts, people who are no longer there, or are not to be seen. THis is a "trip of the mind", into a twilight zone of things that escape the day to day reality.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Light out for the Territory. 15 May 2013
By sue sue
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Was interested,but personally, found the book too dense for my taste. I was lead to it by watching Patrick Keiller's 'London' which was a fascinating personal journey round London over a year.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ian Sinclair/LIGHTS OUT FOR THE TERRITORY 4 Dec 2009
By Belinda
With "LIGHTS OUT FOR THE TERRITORY" Lights Out for the TerritoryIain Sinclair throws another slant on the history of London - this book does exactly what it says on the tin!!! If, like Suggs, you are greedy for more and more information on our wonderful capital's past, then gorge yourself on every tasty morsel, every fascinating titbit that Iain Sinclair has dished up for us. Feed your sense of humour and your sense of history and buy this book.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars la beauté est dans la rue... 15 Aug 2009
Sinclair's erudite and scholarly approach renders visible a London that is neglected, ignored and even widely unknown. It is a unique, dense book, borne of an unrelenting fascination with a city that resides paradoxically in both the past and the present. Drawing together disparate ideas, he examines the fabric of the capital, tracing threads that encompass politics, art, mysticism, conspiracy, literature and religion. Sinclair moves through physical and cultural boundaries, skirting the fringes and engaging with peripheral but perhaps visionary figures as well as identifying forgotten architectural remnants and apparent anomalies in a vast urban sprawl. The London he presents is powerful, provocative and disturbing - through the activities of its inhabitants the city is able to assume such human characteristics. Befitting his background in psychogeography, Sinclair's narrative is shaped through the routes he walks in the city; accompanied by photographer Marc Atkins, he chronicles the dark underbelly of modern urban life.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars money saving tip
Okay... save yourself a few quid. Instead of purchasing this pile of pretentious s***, take any book off your shelf... turn to the back...start reading it backwards... Read more
Published 19 months ago by nigelt
2.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful topic ruined by a sesquipedalianist
Simply, he can not write. If he talked to anybody the way he writes, he would get smacked in the face. That makes it more annoying because the topic is wonderfully interesting. Read more
Published on 26 Aug 2011 by A. JARVIS
1.0 out of 5 stars Incomprehensible!!
I suppose it just might be me, but I found this book to be totally impenetrable and try though I did to get into it, I just had to give up. Read more
Published on 22 Jun 2011 by Lucky Pierre
1.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to get into, hard to follow and quite pompously written
This book has great potential but is hard to get through due to its lack of simplicity. He can't write a sentence such as 'This eccentric pensioner walks through the borough every... Read more
Published on 3 Feb 2011 by Nathan Strange
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential London writing
This is a stunning book. It is one of the books that has influenced me most. It is packed with fascinating London lore and I have been led to seek out many of the people, places,... Read more
Published on 20 July 2007 by Darran
5.0 out of 5 stars a reader's review
Lights Out for the Territory is a book about London. Iain Sinclair manages to uncover London's subterranean world by walking the city and retrieving its hidden secrets. Read more
Published on 3 Nov 2004 by Bassel Almasalmeh
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