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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
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
What's better than listening to an audiobook about Londoners while watching Londoners on your commute? Great collection of stories.
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.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up Londoners: The Days and Nights of London Now - As Told by Those Who Love It, Hate It, Live It, Left It, and Long for It in three words, what would they be?
Why even try?
What other book might you compare Londoners: The Days and Nights of London Now - As Told by Those Who Love It, Hate It, Live It, Left It, and Long for It to, and why?
I can't think of anything similar. Can't I just review the darned thing on its own terms?
Which scene did you most enjoy?
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.
If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
It's not that kind of book. These question templates don't really work.
Any additional comments?
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.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Londoners feels to me like a big book. I was rather surprised to find that the print book is only 422 pages! For me, it felt like it took quite some time to listen to the audiobook (probably because I went away in the middle of it and wasn’t listening very much) but it’s also big in terms of ideas. To talk to a wide group of Londoners, from the new to the old, the lovers, the haters and all those in between is a huge effort. It must have taken ages for Craig Taylor to find people to be interview, conduct the interview and then transcribe and edit. It’s an ambitious project that captures so many different people who share a city.
The story is a collection of these interviews, divided into themes like arriving and leaving, marriage and death. It’s pretty easy to pick up where you left off (particularly if it’s at the end of an interview), so the audiobook is particularly good for short bursts. There is also a collection of narrators who are all brilliant at different accents and speech cadences. (I had to check that one of the narrators wasn’t my colleague, she sounded exactly the same!) My only niggle was that I knew some of the narrators really well by the end and it was occasionally hard to disconnect from the person they were playing in the previous vignette.
There were some really interesting people that Taylor spoke to. I think one of my favourites was the man looking after lost property on the Tube – it sounds like he does a brilliant job and really cares about it. He also had some classic tales to tell – like someone calling and asking what the chances were of a cake they left on the Tube being found uneaten! The pilots talking about taking off and landing too was fascinating. Marriage celebrants, grief counsellors, people going through supermarket bins, barristers, antique shop owners…all real people with many stories to tell. Some people I think could have had their own book of tales!
Some of the interviews weren’t my cup of tea – people complaining about others on their commute (I hear you, but deal with it) and some just went on a bit long. Other people had a viewpoint that appeared prejudiced or narrow minded at time, but it takes all sorts to make a city.
I think listening to this book really helped it to come alive for me. Worth a listen if you’re a Londoner or interested in the everyday thoughts of a range of people in a city.