Tales of London life
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When I first heard about this book I was wondering how this would work. As a fellow Canadian living in London and having spent the bulk of my formative years in Canada, I pondered what more could a guy from the suburbs of Western Canada possibly have to say about the people that live and work in this ancient city? After all hasn't London already been covered by storied writers as varied as Pepys, Dafoe, Blake, Shakespeare, Dickens, AA Gill, John Lanchester, to name but a few? What could a Canadian writer add to literary treasures already penned by many more, British born? Well... Using a method of curating the book rather than writing it the book is a success in the same way that Paul Auster's True Tales of American Life – which asks everyday Americans to submit anecdotes and stories about their personal lives – is a memorable and compelling read; Taylor also asks Londoners to pen thoughts and submit to interviews about daily rituals such as taking the tube to work. One one of the most interesting stories is the tale of the northern girl who became the voice of the London Underground. I found this book very British and astute, as perhaps, the fellow Londoners whom Craig Taylor interviewed opened up to their Canadian cousin, in perhaps the same way a couple on holiday will be more candid than a couple you meet down the pub.
If so, in his role as producer/curator, the author has a kind of silent hand in guiding the myriad London voices with many surprises along the way.
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