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London Belongs to Me (Penguin Modern Classics)

London Belongs to Me (Penguin Modern Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Norman Collins , Ed Glinert
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'A magic evocation of a vanished world, a Dickensian page-turner that keeps one gripped to the very end'

'One of the great city novels: a sprawling celebration of the comedy, savagery, eccentricity and heroism ... of ordinary London life' Sarah Waters
-- Sarah Waters


'One of the great city novels: a sprawling celebration of the comedy, savagery, eccentricity and heroism ... of ordinary London life' Sarah Waters

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2103 KB
  • Print Length: 752 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (26 Feb 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI9Z54
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #15,562 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evocative of a London Past 6 May 2009
This is a fantastic read full of ordinary (but vivid) characters who bring pre-WWII London incredibly to life. I got totally lost in this book and wanted to savour it, relishing the prospect of a few chapters before bed every night. The book is set in a multi-occupancy house in Kennington and follows the day to day life of all of its inhabitants - most of them very respectable, some less so! It's very funny in places and also very poignant. I found that I got totally caught up with all the characters. Like the last reviewer I particularly liked Connie (the Soho nightclub attendant who comes home every night at 4am on the late tram!) but also had a soft spot for Percy Boon despite all his misdemeanours. All in all this is a book to get swept away in and not to be missed. Anyone who is a fan of pre/post-war London literature - eg Patrick Hamilton, James Curtis, Gerald Kersh, Julian Maclaren Ross, etc will welcome the opportunity to live for a while in the less frantic lives (but not without their surprising twists) of the tenants of Dulcimer Street, Kennington, South London.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read 14 Jun 2009
Norman Collins is probably someone you have never heard of, but from being deputy chairman at Gollancz he went on to join the BBC. He created the Dick Barton radio series and also initiated Woman's Hour, before moving over to the television side of the business. He eventually left the BBC and was a prime force in helping to create an independent television network in this country. Whilst doing all this he found time to write a number of novels, this one being his most famous. It is good to see that the clever chaps at Penguin have now placed this novel in their Modern Classics series, hopefully giving this cult classic a much wider audience. This book has been filmed before, but really this needs to be made into a proper series on the tv, it is well past time that it should have been.

I was glad when I stumbled across this amazing book back in print as being a South Londoner born and bred from generations of such this book carries a certain resonance. Indeed when I was little my grandparents lived in similar conditions. The story revolves around the tenants of number 10 Dulcimer Street, Kennington. The story opens with Mr Josser forced into early retirement. This book has never been considered high literature and indeed it isn't, so don't be worried about the length. If you like Delderfield's Avenue books you will love this. At the beginning with Mr Josser retiring you may start to think that this is a kitchen sink drama, but don't be put off, when Mr Josser drops his retirement clock on the pavement you will realise that this story is most definitely a comedy drama.

Despite the Phony War leading into the main war, car theft and murder this book doesn't dwell on the bleakness of life, indeed whatever happens Collins finds comedy in the situation.
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57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm So Glad This Book Belongs to Me 12 Mar 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Norman Collins' `London Belongs to Me' starts in 1938 and chronicles the lives of a group of `ordinary' Londoners, set against a background of impending war, then WW2 itself - although this is not a novel specifically about the horrors of war. This is a novel about the lives, with all their trials and tribulations, and successes and failures, of a diverse group of people, struggling to cope with everyday life, in most cases on a very meagre budget. We are introduced to the lonely landlady, in whose house the main characters live, the ageing glamour girl with an eye to the main chance, and my favourite characters, Mr. & Mrs. Josser, adjusting to life with Mr.Josser newly retired, and other characters, too numerous to mention but all fascinating. Norman Collins really brings his characters to life - I felt as if I knew them all intimately and really cared about their lives and various predicaments. This is a big book - some 734 pages - but it wasn't long enough for me. I was really sorry to finish it and feel sure I'll read it again some day. On the basis of this book, I would compare Norman Collins favourably with Charles Dickens in his ability to observe and comment on characters and situations, with subtle underlying humour (although I would rate Collins far more readable than Dickens). There were many occasions when I laughed out loud and many, many more when I smiled to myself - I would rate this book an absolute masterpiece.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A period piece 7 Sep 2010
The occupants of 10 Dulcimer Street are neighbours, in a way unique to the class-ridden London of 1938. Everyone considers themself to be somewhat superior to at least one of their neighbours- but almost everyone cares, even just a little bit, about the other people they share the house with. As readers, we instantly form our own judgements about the characters, too.

The results are often funny, frequently moving and sometimes dramatic. How will the residents cope with a psychopath in their midst? Where will Mr Puddy's next snack come from? Which of the household will faded showgirl Connie attempt to manipulate next?

You can lose yourself in the streets of Collins' lost London. Or snuggle up in front of the Jossers' fire as, along with the other people you've met in the pages of this excellent novel, you wait for the first bombs to start to fall. Occasionally you'll see glimpses of what makes Englishness such a complex business.

This book is deliciously old-fashioned in its language and some of its mores, yet so easy to read and enjoy- but still warmly relevant to the descendants of the Londoners of 1938.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for all fans of London literature
This London comedy/tragedy worked on every level, it made me both laugh and cry. A stunningly intriguing piece of literature, this is up there with the likes of Patrick Hamilton.
Published 2 months ago by a c gordon
5.0 out of 5 stars "for God's sake don't look inside my hat"
I picked this up on a whim as I hadn't heard of it before but it looked promising. I'm really glad I did as it's one of the best things I've read in a long time. Read more
Published 3 months ago by A. Stanhope
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad read
Interesting characters living together in an old and rather faded London house. Quite engaging and the story was made into a film years ago. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Coobagal
4.0 out of 5 stars A read that sends you back in time
I liked this book very much. The atmosphere of the era was captured in every way, however I would have prefered a more conclusive ending. Read more
Published 13 months ago by helen
5.0 out of 5 stars In my top 5 ever
This book was given to me as a present and I found it completely engrossing. All the characters become like old friends.. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Sue Peters
3.0 out of 5 stars Affectionate and engaging.
This is a lovingly written novel, strongly evocative of pre-war London. It introduces us to an array of largely likeable characters, though none are presented in any great depth. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Bluecashmere.
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly engrossing
What a wonderful book. It tells the story of the inhabitants of a house (one family to each floor) just before the second world war. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read
This is a gentle, readable book which gets you involved with all the characters. The interest is sustained by suspense which starts building up from about half-way through. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Corinne Lever
4.0 out of 5 stars A fine London novel
Of all the world's great cities, London seems to lend itself best to being portrayed as poky and provincial. Read more
Published 18 months ago by F.R. Jameson
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh so good!
I put this off 'cause it was long. I tend to do that. It was a mistake. What a glorious piece of fiction. Read more
Published 19 months ago by RachelWalker
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