Here are the voices of London - rich and poor, native and immigrant, women and men. From the woman whose voice announces the stations on the London Underground to the man who plants the trees along Oxford Street; from a Pakistani currency trader to a Guardsman at Buckingham Palace - together, these voices paint a vivid, epic and wholly fresh portrait of 21st Century London.
Craig Taylor, an acclaimed journalist, playwright, and writer, spent five years exploring the city and listening to its residents to create this amazingly rich portrait of London.
©2011 Craig Taylor (P)2012 W F Howes Ltd
Retired in Nanoose Bay ,British Columbia, having lived and worked in Canada, USA (Connecticut), UK and Singapore
Having lived near London over the last 10 years, now living on Canada's West Coast near the author's origin, I really enjoyed this book.I learned a lot about many facets of life in London that normally you take for granted (the tube train announcer, for example)
It was fun to move onto each new experience and reminiscence and I looked forward to listen to what was coming next
The narrators were spot on and often very amusing.
A really good listen
"Tired of London? I don't think so."
I write this as a Londoner and as someone who loves the city. This is a fascinating insight into the people that make it such a great place to live and work. There's much pleasure to be had in the recognition of "yes that's how it is."
It's frequently funny and always interesting and the interviews are quite short so you can easily skip forward if you get bored, although I don't think that will happen.
My only gripe is that this is meant to be the many, many voices of London, but the audio version uses only half-a-dozen different actors and you quickly get to recognise each voice as they tend to voice each person the same rather than "get into character." This distracted me a little so I felt I was listening to the actor rather than the interviewee. Otherwise it's a very good book.
I have read the only review so far to be made of this book, and agree with the writer except that I didn't feel that the voices marred the presentation - the episodes are well-spaced so that you don't hear the same voice too frequently.
It's a wonderful book because the stories are quite offbeat and not what you're expecting. Each has an introductory name and occupation, and though you feel you may know about the world of that occupation you find new angles to it every time. I think different generations will find different parts intriguing (I'm older, so the life of a female bouncer is outside my ken and a revelation!)
I shall certainly listen to the book again.
"Good book made unlistenable by overkeen performers"
I'm about quarter of the way through and I fear I may need to give up on this one and download a copy on my Kindle for reading instead. Unfortunately this defeats the fact of wanting to listen to it to begin with. The book concept is fantastic, the interviews are solid and the content is enjoyable and illuminating. The strange choice of reading style is baffling and completely ruins the listening experience for me.
The book is not merely read with expression, it is performed as a series of monologues by a small, overenthusiastic cast. Some of the accent attempts border on the offensive, and almost all of the performances are irritatingly over-acted. The camp performance style serves only to embellish the narratives with elements of characterisation which come from the actor's own interpretation. Furthermore, the occasional interruptions by the author in the middle of the spoken passages are jarring and disjointed.It is not necessary in an audiobook to represent multiple people of varying backgrounds with a cast of kooky stereotypes, lest a listener is unable to form his or her own mental image. A normal, expressive reading of the text by a single performer is sufficient and I'm sure would be preferred by the majority of those who listen to audiobooks for the content of the book foremost.
Why even try?
I can't think of anything similar. Can't I just review the darned thing on its own terms?
It's not really about enjoyment and it's not really about scenes. The eyewitness account of a suicide on the Underground was particularly compelling but I certainly wouldn't say I enjoyed it. The book pleased me because it was London from such a diverse set of viewpoints - some interesting, some boring, some admirable and some which invited contempt - but all valid enough to the people who said the words.
It's not that kind of book. These question templates don't really work.
Why did the chapters - which were of wildly different lengths - bear no relation to the length of the stories being told? Sometimes you got three stories in one chapter, other times a story began partway through one chapter, took up a complete chapter, and finished partway through another chapter. If, like me, you like to got through a single short story on your walk to work, you'll find this frustrating. Also, the book was split into two halves, but both halves appear to have the same content. What is going on?
But at the end of the day, I felt I had a better perspective on London.
Really great book! I did not know what to expect when I got it, but it proven to be totally outrages, crazy and funny book. Must read for everyone who live or lived in London.
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