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|Print List Price:||£9.99|
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Adrift in Soho Kindle Edition
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"Adrift in Soho" is set in late 1950s London, and is beautifully written, very easy to read, and contains a wonderful array of charming characters most of whom want to retain a sense of personal freedom by avoiding the tyranny and grind of daily work. Early bohemians, the lot of them, and writing the guide to alternative living years before Swinging London popularised a similar lifestyle.
It works both as a simple story of a young person's arrival from Nottingham to an unfamiliar London; and more broadly, as a search for meaning aligned to an attempt to transcend the day-to-day tedium of the wage-slave. There is loads of late 1950s London period detail, and it is very well written. Part of the magic of Colin Wilson's style is that he weaves philosophy into the fabric of the narrative, in a way that remains both provocative and accessible. I recommend this to anyone interested in youth culture; London, and specifically Soho; bohemians; philosophy; and post-war English literature.
Colourful if confused characters add a splash of colour and charm to a grey and dreary post war capital.
With some piercing abstract insights, it falls down with Wilsons biggest weakness/ his inability to draw convincing characters.
People flit in and out adding little to nothing to the narrative, and with the odd exception appear rather flat and somewhat redundant, in a rather Gogol fashion.
This becomes apparent with an ending that meanders flatly for the final tenth of the book before coming to a sudden oddly placed stop.
Still recommended, but the final 1/10 could be skipped and nothing would be missed.
Meanwhile the existential themes really draws you in. Harry is a curious fellow. He's looking for experiences. He knows he could live a very average, normal life in an average job, in an average town. But he's on the quest for more. He doesn't want to sell out. You get drawn into his world and it eventually end with a certain kind of contentment. He finds a rabid large houseshare where he belongs, a girl he falls in love with and a handful of friends that make him feel at home.
It's the perfect book for any lost young man.
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