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London Belongs to Me (Penguin Modern Classics)

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Perhaps it isn’t strange after all; this article came to be written in the month that the remains of Roman baths were discovered at Borough Market, so perhaps the author could have added, ‘and in Caesar’s day before that’. Two of my personal favourites are a 1958 edition of Zola’s ‘The Beast in Man’ which boasts the most grotesque and ineptly painted image I’ve ever seen. There is the money counting, terrified of poverty landlady, inhabiting the meanest room in the house so she can let the rest And there is also another room to let, waiting on a new tenant .

Percy is quite the young man on the up, making a name for himself as a successful mechanic, with dreams of owning his own garage one day. The stories part and interweave and drop and pick up between characters in exactly the manner of a soap opera and just as addictively, so that the domestic drama of "will Mrs Josser like Doris's fiance's parents?

It is the perfect habitat for retired clerks, aspiring typists, faded actresses, failed dairy managers and self-sufficient (but only just) widows of property. Her loneliness and lack of spiritual solace puts her at the mercy of a charlatan, a self-proclaimed medium by the name of Mr Squales.

This is where I belong’ he told himself, an almost aboriginal instinct for the inseparability of people and place surging within him: ‘I belong to London. Establishing this does not come easily for Doris, but she convinces the reader and her parents that the world is changing and the clock is not going to stop. However, in addition to London Belongs To Me, Collins produced a fair number of other works of fiction, some of which are still in print.Sheltered and contented amongst the shelves of silent ledgers (‘E to Egg-’) at Creek Lane EC2; it is if he’d never been away. This new world where the boundaries are less certain than they were goes well beyond liberated young women and nihilistic young men. Mr Josser’s participation in the South London Parliament reflects the helplessness of the wider body politic in the face of Nazi aggression and expansionism.

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