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A Stranger City

A Stranger City

When a dead body is found in the Thames, caught in the chains of HMS Belfast, it begins a search for a missing woman and confirms a sense that in London a person can become invisible once outside their community – and that assumes they even have a community. A policeman, a documentary film-maker and an Irish nurse named Chrissie all respond to the death of the unknown woman in their own ways. London is a place of random meetings, shifting relationships – and some, like Chrissie intersect with many. The film-maker and the policeman meanwhile have safe homes with wives – or do they? An immigrant family speaks their own language only privately; they have managed to integrate – or have they? The wonderful Linda Grant weaves a tale around ideas of home; how London can be a place of exile or expulsion, how home can be a physical place or an idea. How all our lives intersect and how coincidence or the randomness of birth place can decide how we live and with whom.
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Genre: Fiction & Related Items / Modern & Contemporary Fiction (post C 1945)

On Sale: 2nd May 2019

Price: £16.99

ISBN-13: 9780349010472

Reviews

Grant is superb on London life, which is at once atomised and seen as a web of unlikely connections. However, as her by turns humorous and horrifying tale circles and deepens, her deft peeling back of the capital's layers raises increasingly unsettling questions about where all of us might be heading
Stephanie Cross, Daily Mail
Grant conveys how these sentiments affect her individuals with insightful emotional accuracy
Sunday Times
[A] shimmering new novel . . . Grant's book is as much a love letter to London as a lament, an ode to pink skin after sunny days and lost gloves waving from railings
The Economist
This is no weighty, state-of-the-nation tome to be struggled through. Grant tackles Brexit, terrorism, acid attacks, racism, social media, climate change - every headline which daily sends seismic shudders through London - with the lightest of touches. This is a book to whizz through breathlessly. And to laugh at. There are great deadpan vignettes . . . Grant is a piercing analyst of relationships too (her Austen-like knack for narratorial irony is particularly delicious when dissecting Alan and Francesca's early romance). Such humour serves only to emphasise the disturbing storyline. Invented events (terrorist van-rammings, weeks of snow, mass deportations) are disorientingly plausible, and Grant's London develops into a dystopia. At least, dystopia as I'm writing this - who knows how prescient her plot twists may be? A Stranger City feels like a very important novel for right now: no politically ponderous diatribe but a witty, sunlounger-accessible and deeply humanising story about people - about us - and the societal shipwreck we're stuck in
Evening Standard
The novel is fleet-footed . . . Londoners of all ages, backgrounds and hues throng the novel . . . The plot's seemingly haphazard quality mirrors the contingency of urban life but the way Grant makes even the minor characters flare into life gives the novel richness and depth. A compelling portrait of contemporary London, it's a novel fit for shifting, uncertain times
Suzi Feay, Financial Times