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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 77 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 (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 296,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a good book, As someone who had brushes with homelessness, I can applaud the authors approach to this subject. I have read a few reviews that dismiss the authors experience on the grounds that he wasn't entirely without somewhere to stay at times and he had the luxury of calling it off and going home if needed. This is true but is this not also true of Orwell, went he wrote 'down and out'..?
Charlie describes so many instances of the difficulty of been homeless,ranging from fear,boredom and cold to things that those who have not experienced it would perhaps not realise eg shame,incredible tiredness and expense!
Charlie is good at describing the myriad of reasons people end up in this situation, from the bad luck story to the downright hopeless bad guys. Perhaps the most compelling from my point of view was a passage where he describes those who feel they don't deserve anything.
So perhaps the best way i can sum up this book is by saying, I used to be homeless and I got out of it, then I became someone who is settled and says no thanks to a Big Issue seller using that terrible blocking hand motion. Now I have read this book I bought the big issue today with a tip and the vendor says to me 'hang on,don't you want your change?'...it was humbling and also a pleasure to hear.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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 Verified Purchase
Fast delivery great book many thanks
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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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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: Paperback
No fixed abode takes you on an enlightening journey from Cornish tranquility to city street life, on foot! It describes British countryside and culture thoughtfully, romantically and honestly.

It gives great insight into how homeless people are viewed and treated and also how the homeless view 'us'. A captivating tale for anyone interested in modern British culture and how our society has such large social disparities, largely 'swept under the mat' and/or forgotten about (especially to the country dweller) illustrated along the way by unpredictable and thought provoking social encounters. It also takes you on a journey through homelessness itself and all the perceived or very real threats one must deal with and this is through the eyes of a rational and intelligent human being.

It is also a travelling tale and there is something very beautifully British and timeless about a long walk along Cornish coasts, canal paths and city streets. I highly recommend this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition
A well written, interesting and brave journey giving the voiceless a voice. A subject we should read and think more about.
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Format: Paperback
Charlie Carroll's 'No Fixed Abode' is a fascinating and touching insight into the world of the rough sleeper. Leaving his home behind he takes to the road to live the life of the 'tramp' on his long walk from Cornwall to London. This book provides an honest account of both his physical, and mental, journey through the countryside and on the city streets. Carroll's experiences and the testimony of those he meets along the way shed new light on the issues surrounding homelessness whilst at the same time being engaging, thoughtful and well written. I would recommend this book to anyone.
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