Top positive review
15 people found this helpful
London - a cross section of opinion
on 2 January 2012
This book is a collection of 80 or so personal experiences of London as told to the author and published using their own words. Some contributors are predictable, even inevitable, such as a taxi driver, a publican, a paramedic and a market trader. They represent traditional London. Others come from more recent arrivals, such as immigrants, and yet others from people that most of us never meet, such as a dominatrix and a long-time protestor against the invasion of Iraq, camped out in Parliament Square. Some of the stories are mundane, others quirky (such as those of the nurse in a STD clinic and the LT lost property clerk). Others are very moving, particularly one from the eyewitness of a Tube train suicide of a young girl. Most show the determination of those who live here to survive and prosper. If you want evidence that the entrepreneurial spirit is not dead, read the contribution by the East End funeral director.
As someone who was born in London and has lived here for more than 60 years, although not continuously, I was very dubious that a collection of short experiences from a very small number of people (the population of London is about 7.5 million) could possibly give a balanced view of the city. Were my original doubts vindicated? No, they were no. Obviously, a different choice of contributors would have produced different stories, doubtless with contradictory views, like the current ones, but overall the chosen contributions have a ring of authenticity and hang together well. They give a good feeling of what it is like to live and work in this great city. It is an excellent book and I thoroughly recommend it.