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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
The Lonely Londoners (Penguin Modern Classics)
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 31 October 2015
Any large city can be desperately lonely for someone whose roots are elsewhere and who is not part of a smaller community within the urban monster. My overriding impression from this book is not so much one of loneliness as immense spirit often in the face of poverty and prejudice. I enjoyed this book enormously and laughed aloud frequently at the antics and verve of Cap, Tanty and the others.

The writing, in an almost free association patois, brings us so much closer to the thoughts and feelings of the participants. I knew London when newsagents’ windows exhibited openly racist advertisements and it is hardly surprising that these new immigrants hovered in their attitudes between respect and emulation and fear and a resourcefulness born from their minority situation. Anyone unfamiliar with London will be much more aware after reading Sam Selvon’s account of the wanderings of his cast in this account. In some ways the tightly knit bonds between these newcomers seems to reduce the metropolis to a village. I find the introduction rather unnecessarily solemn. For me the book is far more of a celebration than a lament and like Cap and Galahad, whatever vicissitudes of fortune come their way, they bounce back with energetic resilience.
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on 26 June 2017
This was on my required reading list for my degree. The book took some getting used to, thanks to Sevlon writing in the authentic "voice" of West Indian Migrant, Moses, during 1950s London. Once I adapted to this writing/reading style I found The Lonely Londoners to be an enjoyable read. Pages 92-102 were difficult and confusing (there wasn't a single full stop, comma, or anything to break it up).
Over all a good read, and a great insight into the West Indian migrant experience during 1950s Britain.
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VINE VOICEon 13 October 2011
I lived in Bayswater for nearly seven years and I got to know the 'hood, so the characters bearings are my old bearings: Edgware Road, Westbourne Grove and Queensway. This book was recommended to me, and I found it enchanting. It describes the trials of West Indian (and other) immigrants as they try to 'stay alive' in the big cold, smoggy city. The characters are drawn beautifully with anecdotes. 'This is London, this is life oh lord, to walk like a king with money in your pocket, not a worry in the world' - the patois - a man is a 'test' - gives the narrative a relaxed and humorous feel. It reminds me of New York stories of the immigrants rising from nothing. It's surprising it's never been made into a film.
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on 14 April 2016
Considering that this was written in the 1950s, the style of prose is surprisingly undated due, in part, to Selvon's use of dialect throughout the narrative. For this reason, it's an easy read once you get into the rhythm of the language. Each character is introduced through the use of an anecdote and Selvon weaves humour and pathos into each one. All in all, an unusual read and a subtle reflection of immigrant life.
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on 17 August 2017
A classic of its time and a book that would grace any shelf. This publication is a real entertaining education into the generation of so called Commonwealth citizens who made England their home.
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on 21 June 2016
If you are looking for a good book about how the West Indian Immigrants settled into life in England when they first arrived this is it. Cleverly written in a West Indian accent, you can hear the voice in your head as you read, its amazing and quite compelling.
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on 29 April 2013
This was never the sort of book I would choose to read, but I studied it for my course and I found it really interesting. The characters in the book are interesting, lively and realistic, and it offered a perspective on the experience of black people in London that I'd never before considered. The book is written in the jargon and accent of the West Indies, and there are no chapters, so it's probably not for everyone, but I enjoyed reading it.
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on 10 April 2016
Excellent book that maintains its relevance even in this day and age. Although it focuses primarily on the plights that migrants of the wind rush generation faced, this novel taps in to the universal theme of loneliness in a metropolitan setting.
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on 12 September 2014
I bought this book for a module I'm studying; I wasn't particularly looking forward to reading it as it isn't the sort of thing I would normally read. However, I was hooked from the first page and will be reading this book over and over; it's absorbing, the use of language is interesting and the characters are well rounded and beautifully put together. I would definitely recommend this novel.
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on 18 May 2018
Very interesting.
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