Monday, January 13, 2014

Londoners by Craig Taylor

I use Grammarly's plagiarism check because saying things twice is redundant.

Five years in the making, Londoners is a fresh and compulsively readable view of one of the world's most fascinating cities—a vibrant narrative portrait of the London of our own time, featuring unforgettable stories told by the real people who make the city hum.

Acclaimed writer and editor Craig Taylor has spent years traversing every corner of the city, getting to know the most interesting Londoners, including the voice of the London Underground, a West End rickshaw driver, an East End nightclub doorperson, a mounted soldier of the Queen's Life Guard at Buckingham Palace, and a couple who fell in love at the Tower of London—and now live there. With candor and humor, this diverse cast—rich and poor, old and young, native and immigrant, men and women (and even a Sarah who used to be a George)—shares indelible tales that capture the city as never before.

Together, these voices paint a vivid, epic, and wholly original portrait of twenty-first-century London in all its breadth, from Notting Hill to Brixton, from Piccadilly Circus to Canary Wharf, from an airliner flying into London Heathrow Airport to Big Ben and Tower Bridge, and down to the deepest tunnels of the London Underground. Londoners is the autobiography of one of the world's greatest cities.

This was a wonderfully enlightening look at London and its people. For someone like me, who is planning a trip in the near future to this city, this is a great way of getting a taste of the place beforehand.

I loved that we get to see a bit of every section in London. From the high society, high tea, kind of people, to the funeral directors and even homeless people, we get a real sense of what London means for each of these people. What I found very interesting is the way the author captured each of their voices, so that none of them sound quite the same. This shows that he took the time to maintain their voices and personalities intact.

We get so much slang in the writing, especially through some of the younger narratives, that we do get a good, real sense of London and its people. I especially enjoyed learning about the Voice of the Underground, who is the woman whom you hear at every subway station. There are so many wonderful anecdotes, truthful and unique, that even the least positive of the bunch still make you feel like London is an absolute-must-see.

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