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Londoners: The Days and Nights of London Now - as Told by Those Who Love it, Hate it, Live it, Left it and Long for it Paperback – 5 Jul 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 108 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Publications Ltd (5 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847083293
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847083296
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,192 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A splendid oral history of the city... On occasions Londoners attains a level of eloquence as beautiful and blue as anything to be found in the works of Jean Rhys or Samuel Selvon ... A remarkable volume" -Guardian

"Craig Taylor tunes in to the multi-tongued, self-justifying noise of the streets. And he leaves us with a substantial account, not just of our imaginary riverside capital, but, more vividly, of himself: as inquirer, investigator, part of a long and valuable lineage"-Iain Sinclair, Observer

"Londoners must be 2011's most ambitious and creative book about London ... This is a book to deepen your relationship with London and make you fall in - or out - of love with it all over again ... I can't tell you how much I enjoyed it" - Evening Standard

"Memorable, funny and occasionally melancholy... a rich, satisfying tapestry of metropolitan life" - Sunday Times

"Ranging from the shocking to the poignant, 80 London voices produce a vivid collage of this impossible city" - Independent

"A cacophonous testimony to the multiple lives of the capital... all life is here in all its dirty, exuberant glory" --Metro

"Its brilliance lies not in the way Taylor frames the concept but in the way he lets people talk without obvious motive or direction. Five stars." --Time Out

"Craig Taylor is the real deal: a peerless journalist and a beautiful craftsman. He'd be a household name already if he wasn't so modest. He'll be one anyway in due course." --David Rakoff, bestselling author of "Fraud" and "Half Empty"

From the Back Cover

Acclaimed writer and editor Craig Taylor spent years traversing every corner of London, getting to know the most interesting of its residents the voice of the London Underground, a West End rickshaw driver, an East End nightclub door attendant, a mounted soldier of the Queen's Life Guard. Now, in Londoners, this diverse cast of characters rich and poor, young and old, native and immigrant, men and women (and even a Sarah who used to be a George) shares indelible tales that capture the city as never before. With candor and humor, these voices paint a vivid, epic, and wholly original portrait of twenty-first-century London, scripting the autobiography of one of the world's greatest cities." --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
An oral history of `real' London, written by a Canadian geezer? No I wasn't convinced either.

But I'd read rave reviews about Londoners and so I decided to give it a whirl regardless. Thank god I did. This is a fantastic collection of candid tales about our metropolis. And while completely contradictory in their sentiments, all the voices feel genuine and unembellished; whether their account is bleak, loving or plain bizarre, you can guarantee that the narrator means every word.

The leg work in itself is impressive, five years worth of interviews, spanning all thirty-two boroughs and notching up around a million words of material. The hard work has paid off, because however you feel about modern London, you'll be accounted for by Mr. Taylor. He hasn't tried to sway the collection towards any particular conclusion.

Full of laugh-out-loud anecdotes, just as many angry and sinister rants, with some beautiful and poetic depictions of the city which come from the unlikeliest of sources.

Every time I put the book down I had the urge to jump on the tube and have a wander for myself!
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Format: Hardcover
Really loved this, as much for the British social history aspect as the London-specific stories. A real variety of vividly-painted characters, with stories told around different themes and aspects of life in London
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By Brian R. Martin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 2 Jan. 2012
Format: Hardcover
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.
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Format: Hardcover
I live in London but I rarely talk to anyone I don't already know so my view of the city is pretty fixed.

Taylor, an outsider from Canada, talks to everyone and anyone, and manages to get them to talk to him. No mean feat.

He gets under the skin of the city and reveals it in unexpected, beautiful and funny ways.

A real triumph.
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Format: Hardcover
One of my favorite websites, Londonist.com, said this was the best London book in at least a decade. I agree wholeheartedly. This is a unique book full of inside knowledge, surprises, and accounts by 'ordinary' Londoners who reveal themselves to be anything but. Each one of the 80-odd voices adds another viewpoint. It captures what life is like in this gorgeous, frustrating, heartbreaking, money-grubbing, wonderful place.

So who should read Londoners? This book should be handed out to any young person looking to move to or visit London. It should be given to anyone who has lived in London and had to relinquish the place; anyone who wants to move out of London; anyone who has passed through London. It should be mandatory for anyone who is curious about how cities work. Who else should read this book? Ken and Boris -- they could learn a few things by listening to the voices of the people. Sociologists, politicians, playwrights, screenwriters, documentarians, Northerners who would rather chew their arm off than visit and maybe even smug Brighton people who want to feel good about selling up and moving out.

Every single one of the stories taught me something new about the city. I've been here for years but I feel I'm just getting know this place.

This book is for readers who want to get beyond the guidebooks and glimpse a unique view of this everchanging city.
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By Uncle Barbar TOP 50 REVIEWER on 12 Dec. 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is a fantastic volume and highly recommended. I started out dipping into it and ended up reading it through voraciously. Every Londoner's account, and there are around 80, is spellbinding, be it funny, sad or exuberant. There is much insight and wisdom within these pages. Made me laugh out loud. Okay, it's not the snappiest title but it does what it says on the tin. This is clearly a labour of love for Taylor and it has very much paid off. The narratives are so vivid many put me in mind of Dickens. I was in awe of some of the poetic descriptions of the most down-to-earth of contributors. First hand accounts and eyewitness testimony prove so much more rewarding than watered-down fiction. A great book for anybody who wants to gain a wider and deeper understanding of Londoners or anybody interested in social anthropology. A great - and most informative - read.
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