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No Fixed Abode: A Journey Through Homelessness from Cornwall to London Paperback – 3 Jun 2013
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'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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
- 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!
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Having never read any of Charlie Carroll before, though admittedly as a guilty pleasure a lover of nomadic travel books, I picked this up on a whim expecting hopefully a well... Read morePublished 4 months ago by E.Fox
Entertaining, easy to read, diverting. Would buy other books by same author.Published 5 months ago by Mrs. F. BOLAM-PEEL
Please get your facts right : begging IS a public offence for which you can go to court (page185: "today, is perfectly legal"). It is NOT. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Tamara
A fantastically written account into "life on the streets". The detail and honesty portrayed here made fascinating reading and in all honesty, I will not look at a homeless... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Zoe
Not only is this book evocative and beautifully written, it provides the adventurous soul with ideas and solid gold advice. I couldn't put it down. Quickest I've ever read a book.Published 14 months ago by jaggedpill
I don't think this book explains about being homeless, I also think most of the book is made up one of the most interesting people mentioned in the book, Stan obviously never... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Mr G.
A really interesting account that stayed with me - a must read if you are a Londoner (or otherwise!)Published 16 months ago by Katherine