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London Belongs to Me (Penguin Modern Classics)

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To Doris, Camden Town is a disappointment and ‘appears exactly the same as the Elephant and Castle on her side of the river’. Read more about the condition New: A new, unread, unused book in perfect condition with no missing or damaged pages.

Mr Squales testifies against Percy, but in the process exposes to his fiancée Mrs Vizzard the falsity of his claims to be able to contact the dead and to predict the future. It drives Roman mad when I talk about turning our home into a boarding house should I ever end up as a widow. I am a born and bred Londoner and love no other place in the world in quite the same way I love this city. On reading reviews of London Belongs To Me, one finds that the most common descriptor is ‘Dickensian’, and in this novel Collins certainly demonstrates the ability to typify many of his characters in an onomatopaeic name coupled occasionally with a single defining characteristic – like the obese, junk-guzzling Mr Puddy (pudding, pudgy) complete with an inability to pronounce the nasal consonants; Mrs Vizzard (buzzard, lizard) a dessicated widow, picking a living from her lodgers’ rents and characterised by ‘a pale waxiness, her hair . The novel was also adapted for Thames Television as a series, broadcast in seven one-hour episodes from 6 September to 18 October 1977.The blackouts are vividly presented (“it had a sinister, almost solid, quality of its own, this blackout, so that you felt you had to carve your way through it, scraping and scooping out a passage as you went along”) and when Collins emphasises the carry-on attitude of Londoners during the war, it seems not so much heroic as dutiful (“[Mr Josser] had something else to think about.

Mrs Woolf, wife of the manager, is a very celebrated author and, in her own way, more important than Galsworthy.If you enjoyed London Belongs to Me, you might like Sam Selvon's The Lonely Londoners, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. He flits effortlessly from Connie, the aged desperately poor ex-actress, to Percy Boon, the young motor mechanic on the make, whose Dreadful Crime forms the main arc of the novel. small oily mermaids (reduced to) only tiny white fragments left clinging to the ingenious spring framework of fine bones’.

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