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70 of 73 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Only The Lonely
First published in 1956, Trinidadian born, Sam Selvon, began his London based fictions with a short novel called The Lonely Londoners. It's set during a time when many West Indians were emigrating from a life of sunshine to the British Isles, believing, like many emigrants, that the streets were paved with gold. Of course, this is London we're talking about; there's no...
Published on 17 Sep 2006 by Stewart

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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Atmosphere But I Didnt Get Attached
As `The Lonely Londoners' opens we meet Moses Aloetta who is on his way to meeting a group of people who have newly arrived in the city from the West Indies. Moses having lived in London for quite some time is an initially rather begrudging welcoming committee. This is the 1950s a period after the war when many people from many countries came to the UK to find their...
Published on 8 Sep 2010 by Simon Savidge Reads


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars RISIBLE BOOK, 26 May 2009
By 
N. stone (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Lonely Londoners (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
It is funny, amusing and entertaining. Each page had a humorous yet a staid tone to it. I was blown away by Moses' critical apprehension of life in the eyes of a coloured man living in London in the 1950s. The different figures of speech that the author used to capture the senses of the reader; I must admit was characterised by deep intriguing thoughts about class, sex, love, friendship, family, loneliness, work, various prejudices, allegiance to mother country but yet homesick at times, a difference view of right and wrong, etc.
I would recommend this heart warming and risible book to anyone. I read it in one go (i.e. within 2hrs).
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC READ, 19 Feb 2008
This review is from: The Lonely Londoners (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
I read this book in one sitting and I loved it. I enjoyed the characters, it had comedy and sad parts and reminded me of the stories my parents and extended family told about their early experiences in England. Great little book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sam Selvon - The Lonely Londoners, 15 April 2014
By 
molko (Surrey) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Lonely Londoners (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
This is a story of a host of West-Indian emigrants arriving in London for the first time in the 1950s, we watch as they come to terms with such a foreign culture and work to find their own space in a sprawling and (most importantly) changing metropolis.
The story is told from the focal point of Moses but it is interspersed with episodic tales of other black emigrants who are all finding their way around the city. The narrative and the dialogue is told with a West Indian dialect which creates a beautiful and atmospheric portrayal of the culture and community within the city.

Being a Londoner myself I adored the familiar description of places within the city. I wasn't expecting to like this book too much but I ended up loving it. If you've ever been to London and left disenchanted - read it. If you're a Londoner yourself - definitely read it. If you just love a good tale, one that'll make you laugh and entertain but also educate and open your eyes to a time and place so important to us all - a tale of change, hope and new beginnings that we, as human beings, can all relate to - then read this book! Sam Selvon has created a masterpiece and you'd be foolish to miss out on it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Essential post-colonialist reading, 6 April 2014
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P. Richards "Really Good Reviewer" (Wigan, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Lonely Londoners (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Selvon's haunting commentary of the impoverished post-Windrush slums of London provides an excellent addition to the bibliography of anyone with an interest in post-colonialism. Filled with rich characters and a brilliantly narrated non-linear storyline, The Lonely Londoners needs to be read again and again,
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, 14 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Lonely Londoners (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
The book is evocative of London in the fifties, as seen from a newly arrived West Indian point of view a very bewildering city.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great for telling it as it was, 11 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Lonely Londoners (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Really good view of how things were and the experiences of West Indians coming to the UK - after an INVITE from the UK government Well recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite books ever!, 21 Jan 2014
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This review is from: The Lonely Londoners (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
And one I can read again and again. I was never that into reading fiction in my spare time and this was actually a book we were told to read for college. It changed my attitude both to reading and to London. Highly recommend.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A really interesting, enjoyable and important book., 19 Oct 2013
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This review is from: The Lonely Londoners (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
The Lonely Londoners is wonderful. Sam Selvon beautifully evokes immigrant life in 1950s London for various characters who have come to London from the West Indies for work and opportunity.

The tale is narrated by kindhearted but homesick Moses Aloetta who introduces us to some marvellous characters: newly arrived Galahad, ladies man Cap, Tolroy whose family have arrived en masse, Five Past, and many many more. The whole book is written in patois and it is this technique that brings it all to life - it flows like the best prose, is beautifully written and even the moribund slang sings. There's not really a story as such, just a flow of vignettes that touch on discrimination, the weather, relationships, friends, family, feuds, humour, fifties London and so on.

A really interesting, enjoyable and important book. Despite being rooted in the 1950s I suspect it contains universal truths for all people who seek a new life in a new and alien place.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Completely engaging without need for plot or drama, 17 Aug 2013
By 
Gina (Edinburgh) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Lonely Londoners (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
With nothing in particular on my 'to read' list before going on holiday, I decided I wanted to read something set in London, as I was living there at the time but was going to be leaving a couple of months later. I chanced upon 'The Lonely Londoners', having never heard of it or Sam Selvon before. I'm so glad I did! It is now my favourite book.

It is funny that I should have read it as I was leaving London, as the book really deals with immigrants from the West Indies arriving in London. The characters are so real: they are not 'likeable' or 'unlikeable', but are nuanced and believable, with shades of good and bad, just as all people really are. Sometimes you like them, sometimes you don't (except Tanty, who is loveable from beginning to end!).

The book is about race, but is not confrontational. The story just flows so easily, naturally, and is completely engaging without being in any way dramatic. I'm surprised that it isn't more widely recognised - no one I have mentioned it to had heard of it, including a few students of literature. More's the pity - I thoroughly recommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 25 Jun 2013
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This review is from: The Lonely Londoners (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
This novel again purchased as part of a study course and it was good value for money. A very good read and very amusing.
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The Lonely Londoners (Penguin Modern Classics)
The Lonely Londoners (Penguin Modern Classics) by Sam Selvon (Paperback - 27 July 2006)
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