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No Fixed Abode: A Journey Through Homelessness from Cornwall to London Paperback – 3 Jun 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 71 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Summersdale (3 Jun. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849534152
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849534154
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 36,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'Honouring the expeditions of Jack London and George Orwell into hidden zones of poverty and homelessness, Charlie Carroll contrives a startling narrative of a nightworld most of us would choose to avoid. He is perverse, obstinate, brave about his own strategic cowardice (or writerly self-preservation), He is driven and unyielding in the determination to return from darkness to light with a story worth the telling. That story grips and bites and blisters. Read it.'

(Iain Sinclair)

'This was a fascinating concept and an immensely courageous assignment. The descriptions were powerful and evocative and throughout his journey I really did feel I was walking with him and experiencing his many feelings, including his isolation, trepidation and sense of exclusion and vulnerability. It should be required reading for all those who have difficulty in seeing behind the face of the destitute in our affluent society.'

(David Bathurst)

'Charlie Carroll's unique journey from Cornwall to London provides a rare perspective on life as seen from the street; a glimpse into the fringes of society and the people who, for all manner of circumstance, inhabit a very different world. It's an honest, poignant and often courageous tale of homelessness and life on the move and raises many questions about the kind of society that we live in; about tolerance, prejudice and probably - most of all - about camaraderie and the affirming power of the human spirit.'

(David Le Vay)

'Charlie's managed to poignantly capture the plight of our often forgotten homeless in a way that's sometimes scary, frequently surprising but always genuine and heartfelt. Eye opening - a true insight into a life many of us will never know.'

(Phoebe Smith)

'Charlie Carroll's account of homelessness combines travel writing with current affairs.'

(National Geographic Traveller (UK edition))

'Surprises, danger and some memorable characters await, along with a fresh perspective on homelessness.'

(The Bookseller)

'he recounts his adventure, with experiences both good and bad, bringing new insights into some of the fellow homeless people he meets on the way.'

(The Bookseller)

'This isn't a polemical book and we finished it no wiser as to what we should do with any charitable donation or urge or political lobbying. But it is a completely honest and open account of one man's brief time on London's streets, and totally absorbing.'

(londonist.com)

'an interesting read and one which I recommend to those who think the homeless are best avoided or forgotten!!'

(Walkit.com)

'Carroll offers a unique insight to a lifestyle many thought died out years ago.'

(Best of British)

'His English students should consider themselves extremely lucky to be taught by such an inspiring individual'

(The Western Morning News)

About the Author

Charlie Carroll is the author of The Friendship Highway (Summersdale, 2014), No Fixed Abode (Summersdale, 2013) and On the Edge (Monday Books, 2010). He has written for The Guardian, The Big Issue and the Daily Mail, been featured in National Geographic, The Telegraph and The Times, has discussed his work on BBC Radio 5Live and various local radio stations, and has appeared at a number of literary festivals across the UK. 


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Charlie wants to live like a tramp for a few months: all well and good but how realistic is it when he has a home, money stitched inside his the hem of his coat and posh friends ready to let him sleep on their sofa, use the shower and offer some champagne with the meal in London?
Charlie is trying his best to be tramp but the set up is wrong and the outcome necessarily artificial. Still, there are some interesting "interviews" of genuine tramps and homeless people and the book would certainly have benefited with more of those.
The author has some genuine human insights about homelessness and tries to give homelessness the genuine emotional dimention that it needs and deserves.
Nevertheless, the book remains a bit of a false start and a let down in so far as it seems to aim high but doesn't deliver.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having loved On The Edge, another book by Carroll, I was excited by his latest adventure and I wasn't disappointed.

It has opened my eyes to homelessness and changed my perception. His honesty is refreshing - it would have been so easy to have omitted his smuggled £100 and giving-in to nights on his friend's sofa, which makes the whole book more 'human', real and powerful. He also 'humanises' the homeless and made me question my own fear and previously negative perceptions (I'm ashamed to admit it!).

I think I may pick up Down and Out in Paris and London after this! Thank you for writing this excellent thought-provoking book.
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This guy can write! Tackling a subject as woefully missunderstood as homelessness without ego, pretention or self promotion was never going to be easy for the vast majority of published writers today but, Charlie Carrolls narrative glides beautifully encompassing all the expected and unexpected horrors one may expect from his chosen subject along the way. Neither preachy nor too liberal this book takes us into a world many of us knew was there but only a very few of us cared about.
Read it in a day. Minor niggle is that personally i think he spent too long in London when the other areas he covered seemed to promise more material than perhaps he afforded them.
Still, if you want part travel, social study and a testament to the joys of walking you need no longer reach for Orwells down and out. This surpasses that tome quite easilly in my opinion.
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Format: Paperback
If someone decides to:

- leave his wife and safe home with no actual need
- walk from Sennen all the way to London with no money and just carrying a knapsack packed with a sleeping bag and a cooker
- sleep rough almost every night
- live as a tramp among the homeless on the way and a long time in London

He has a giant set of steel balls and a tremendously open mind!

Congratulation Charlie Caroll. You opened a parallel universe hidden from me - until now. Tremendous respect for what you have accomplished and how beautifully, rich and exciting you packed this experiences in words.

Please keep writing. I'll recommend "No Fixed Adobe" to anyone in a heartbeat.
Proper Job, cheers write!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book struck me as a bit of a wasted opportunity to investigate a growing problem that is symptomatic of an uncaring society that would rather look away than address homelessness and its root causes. Where the author looks at why people sleep rough and the official responses then it's extremely powerful and often very dark. Unfortunately it does this very infrequently and I felt there was an element of this being a self-indulgent project that was after readers. That's a real shame as the idea for the project is a very good one.
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I was curious about this journey; why would a seemingly middle class teacher give up all his home comforts to become a 'tramp' (in the quaint old English sense of the word) and walk from Cornwall to London, sleeping rough in just a sleeping bag (not even a bivouac) ?. Well, Charlie Carroll wanted to know what it would be like. It was indeed an eventful journey but more hair-raising when he arrived in London. He took the absolute minimum of belongings (2 t-shirts and a camping gas stove, plus his sleeping bag was almost the sum of his belongings!) and I personally thought that taking a 'bivvy' too would not have been 'cheating' - foolhardy not to have taken it when his own sleeping bag was rained on to sodden-ness and un-usability in London one very cold night. Although he had offers from friends to sleep in their homes, he only took up their offers very occasionally. Most of the time he did sleep rough. His encounters with other homeless people were insightful and although I enjoyed reading about his adventures in the roads and towns up to London, thereafter I was quite uncomfortable with the situations he found himself in in London. Sleeping rough in London was an eye-opener. You need to read the book - I'm not giving away any spoilers here!
I would have liked the end of the book to have had more on his reflections about his time on the road, but it left me with many questions which led me to seek answers through Google and beyond.
I would recommend this book, for anyone who is thinking that their lives might be better. Some people don't have that choice that Charlie had to dabble in homelessnes and yet know that he could go home to a wife and house and job at anytime if the going got too tough at any time.
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