[Read] ➲ London Belongs to Me By Norman Collins – Saudionline.co.uk

London Belongs to Me summary London Belongs to Me, series London Belongs to Me, book London Belongs to Me, pdf London Belongs to Me, London Belongs to Me 3bb0d71f02 Also Known As Dulcimer Street, Norman Collins S London Belongs To Me Is A Dickensian Romp Through Working Class London On The Eve Of The Second World War This Penguin Modern Classics Edition Includes An Introduction By Ed Glinert, Author Of The London CompendiumIt IsAnd The Prospect Of War Hangs Over Every London Inhabitant But The City Simply Doesn T Stop Everywhere People Continue To Work, Drink, Fall In Love, Fight And Struggle To Get On In Life At The Lodging House At No Dulcimer Street, Kennington, The Buttoned Up Clerk Mr Josser Returns Home With The Clock He Has Received As A Retirement Gift The Other Residents Include The Faded Actress Connie Tinned Food Loving Mr Puddy Widowed Landlady Mrs Vizzard Whose Head Is Turned By Her New Lodger, A Self Styled Professor Of Spiritualism And Flashy Young Mechanic Percy Boon, Whose Foray Into Stolen Cars Descends Into Something Much, Much WorseNorman Collins Was A British Writer, And Later A Radio And Television Executive, Who Was Responsible For Creating Woman S Hour On BBC Radio , And Became One Of The Major Figures Behind The Establishment Of The Independent Television ITV Network In The UK In All Norman Collins WroteNovels And Two Plays, Including London Belongs To Me, The Governor S Lady And The Husband S StoryIf You Enjoyed London Belongs To Me, You Might Like Sam Selvon S The Lonely Londoners, Also Available In Penguin Modern Classics One Of The Great City Novels A Sprawling Celebration Of The Comedy, The Savagery, The Eccentricity And The Quiet Heroism At The Heart Of Ordinary London Life Sarah Waters, Author Of The Night Watch


10 thoughts on “London Belongs to Me

  1. says:

    CRIME AND PUNISHMENT MEETS PASSPORT TO PIMLICO DOSTOYEVSKY AS AN EALING COMEDYEvery so often some ambitious writer comes up with an epic novel to sum up London for us Bleak House 1853 , White Teeth 1999 , Capital 2012 and filling the gap is this massive delightful soapy sprawl The introduction tell us that London Belongs to Me I love that title is around the top of Division Two as far as novels go Today it is mostly forgotten, a cult classic, rather than a staple on the must read list although it was introduced to a new generation by retro chic pop group St Etienne with their 1991 track of the same name It s a B novel, epic, but undemanding near the top of a league of London lite allowing us to watch its many characters through two years of their lives He s not wrong, though the idea that a name check from St Etienne can spring a novel from out of print hell back into the hands of new eager readers is not especially credible Well, it s outrageous that this novel of maximum fun could ever have been forgotten it was a big hit in 1945 Norman Collins takes an understated deadpan very English and than a little sarcastic tone to most of the goings on, but the love shines through This is a very specific London from Christmas 1938 to Christmas 1940, from the looming clouds of war to the Blitz From the humdrum to the life threatening not really a book cover to thrill me into buying it The story follows the lives of the residents of the flats in No 10 Dulcimer Street in great detail You want to know exactly how people lived, what they wore, what they ate, their furniture furniture takes up than a few paragraphs , how they ducked and dived and scraped a living in 1938 look no further There are accounts of kinds of fun no one in the West has any the simple pleasure of going into shops and spending money on something that was unnecessary We get a lot about one of the major middle class obsessions of the time, spiritualism We get a lot about one of the English obsessions of all time, class consciousness How could you not Many novelists make a whole song and dance about portraying the inner brains of their characters Not Norman He has the lightest touch He flits effortlessly from Connie, the aged desperately poor ex actress, to Percy Boon, the young motor mechanic on the make, whose Dreadful Crime forms the main arc of the novel He s really good on the various stages Percy s all too credible self centredness, from pre crime, to during crime, to the long consequences of the crime, details of which I should not mention the bad film version yes, she is whacking him with a spanner but in the book she s not smiling when she does it I might moan slightly about two niggling lapses, I guess, because if you do get round to reading this and I hope you do, you ll love it you ll wonder why I didn t point them out You ll be thinking I ve gone soft.A BAD THING ABOUT COMEDY WRITINGDickens likes to give his characters eccentric mannerisms and quirks and then hammer them into the ground so that every time the character appears his quirk never fails to get a mention For some silly reason Mr Collins does this with two characters and only two , and it wears out its welcome One is Mrs Josser she plays the wife who s a bit of a battleaxe so is constantly disapproving of things She radiates disapproval by doing this thing with her lips Mrs Josser drew in her lips and declined to answer P 113Mrs Josser drew in her lips, p122 and 267 and 352Mrs Josser went back upstairs, her lips pursed tightly together p216Mrs Josser pursed up her lips p 252 and 263Mrs Josser merely pursed up her lips again p285 and many as well Even worse, Mr Puddy he has a nasal problem so his speech, alone in the book, gets written phonetically I hear Mrs Bood s god , he said slowly, Stebbed oud on us I doad wonder Berhaps it s juzzazwell Berhabs it god too budge for her Couldn t stand the straid Gave me the greeps she did Good bording You do it once like that and you have to do it throughout the whole novel like that Funny once, maybe, but not funny the 30th time, like Mrs Josser s drawn in lips BUT THESE ARE TRIFLESThis novel took over my whole week It must be the longest I ve finished since Jonathan Norrell and Mr Strange which was years ago Four stars Recommended also not really a book cover to thrill me into buying it


  2. says:

    Probably my favourite book of all time At my wedding, my father read out some congratulation cards during his speech One card reduced me to floods of tears my parents had signed it from all the characters of this book It was such a personal and indulgent moment between my parents and me as nobody else recognised the names It made this book even special to me.


  3. says:

    I d just finished reading five novels by Patrick Hamilton Hangover Square, The Slaves Of Solitude, and the Gorse Trilogy a biography of Patrick Hamilton Through a Glass Darkly The Life of Patrick Hamilton and a biography of Julian MacLaren Ross Fear and Loathing in Fitzrovia The Bizarre Life of Julian Maclaren Ross Reading these books helped me to realise how much I enjoy books about London Coincidentally recommended this book to me and it was a book that I d not heard of until the recommendation.Over 700 pages long, London is unquestionably the star of the book More specifically South London for the inhabitants of a shared house located at 10 Dulcimer Street in Kennington The book is set in 1939 40 and evokes the era wonderfully The second world war looms as each of the varied and memorable characters contend with their own lives and preoccupations Their stories are variously funny, tragic, exciting, interesting, and the interweaving narratives kept me engrossed throughout.If you enjoy well written stories about London, about Britain in the 1940s, and the vagaries of human nature, then it s hard to imagine you wouldn t enjoy this book By the end I felt the characters were old friends and I wanted to continue to read about their lives In a nutshell, I loved it and didn t want it to end.


  4. says:

    What an incredible book A gigantic Dickensian epic about the lodgers in 10 Dulcimer Street, Kennington, in the run up to the Second World War These are middle class people and down, hanging on by their fingernails in a time before the NHS You might call it a slice of life novel except at 700pp it s of a full meal 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 is as compelling as the storyline of a murder Someone needs to film this as an eight part series, minimum The author was apparently an early pioneer of TV for and about working people, and it shows The book is clear sighted and tough minded but never cruel Everyone s foibles and weaknesses and stupidities are clear, but not condemned they re all human and there s compassion for everyone Even the two characters who seem the most ludicrous comic relief are given intensely moving deep POV and powerful story elements I also absolutely adore the treatment of the murderer, a toxically selfish and self centred little shit view spoiler He ends up in prison as the war rages, not mentioned for many chapters, and when we come back it s in these terms The plain fact is that there s been too much happening for Percy to be remembered And, if you must know, Percy was never as important as he thought himself.Bye, Felicia hide spoiler


  5. says:

    As dusk falls, the Park in the background becomes vast and mysterious, and the gas lamps that light your way along the main paths dwindle into the distance like lanterns in Illyria But somehow or other it remains London, with the buses that cruise up Park Lane twinkling through the railings, and the air filled with the roar and rustle of innumerable wheels Yes, it s London all right Or rather, that s how it was in 1939. Maybe no one s idea of a five star book although maybe a four and a half I can tell when I ve really liked something I ve read, by the number of excerpts I want to include in a review what emerges is that an excerpt can tell its own story so much better than a reviewer London Belongs To Me is a clattering, nonstop la ronde of fascinating little excerpts, and a miniature time capsule as well Maybe not so miniature, though Attempts to define or decode a vast city seem like they come in two sizes, extra small or enormous Here we have a huge, rambling, ramshackle tale, a multi threaded saga of the resilient Londoner as Mr Collins sees him Not historical fiction , though, as it was written within a few years of its period In all and there s a lot of all there the narration wants to emulate a Dickensian universe, complete with the full cast of good samaritan, kindly old, bubbly young, ne er do well and regular sort The targets include, as with Dickens, the politician, the lawyer, the policeman and the chronic liar But this isn t Bleak House in the early forties of the novel, Britain is just beginning to gather its keep calm and carry on wits, and if anything, we ve got a sort of Bright House, battered by the fates but soldiering on Writing in the aftermath of war, the author spares no oppurtunity to connect the dots, illuminated by yet another brief Waterloo sunset, under the unending threat of the Blitz It was a fine pearly evening, and the high upper stories of the building were glowing back at the retreating sun Even the buses as they darted out from the shadows of the buildings shone with than their own natural scarlet A barrage balloon resting idly on its cable was pure gold. Packed with now familiar imagery, nearly clich as it may have become by this time, the crisis unfolding alongside the traditional glories of the past is well rendered, visceral Collins manages to show the shift in terms of eight or ten characters, whose revolving plot clusters proceed seamlessly from peace to war But the real strength of the writing is in character, where individual trait and quirk are layered through the uncertainty and mood of the times No one in Dulcimer Street knew anything about Mrs Vizzard s private life Indeed, at first glance, it seemed that there couldn t be any But it was there, alright And pretty highly coloured Mrs Vizzard was a Spiritualist In the crumbling but imposing building with a wooden notice board outside announcing The South London Spiritualist Movement, she conversed with Aztec princesses and Egyptian priests and Red Indian chiefs Conversed while the medium groaned and panted, and the table bounced about and shifted itself and luminous tambourines and trumpets drifted over her head, and the odor of violets filled the air and cold winds blew It was all momentous and terrifying, and somewhere amid the hubbub and the confusion Mrs Vizzard waited patiently for Mr Vizzard s voice to come through After fourteen years she was still waiting Satin and tat, threadbare and frayed at the edges The scale is small, the voicing changes as the episode shifts to the next angle, an adroit mix of interwoven stories that keep the reader enchanted Collins has advanced considerably in vision craft since Penang Appointment , but lost none of the enthusiasm or fizz This novel doesn t really capture London, or the War, nor does it try for that It attempts to capture Londoners, though, in all their likeably persnickety variety, emerging from the dream of peace time But a simple book, with many simple pleasures, all flying through the breach of that non existent moment between the Everyday and the Everyday At War What it has going for it is that it rings true Whatever the opposite of a summer beach read may be called, this is certainly it Pull on a wooly jumper and sit near the grate, the tea is steaming hot, and the scones not too bad for being off the day old shelf Guilty pleasure in spades, and at 6oo pages, no hasty end in sight.


  6. says:

    Of all the world s great cities, London seems to lend itself best to being portrayed as poky and provincial Not for Paris, sad tales of women struggling to get together enough money to feed the electric meter not for New York, stories of lonely night watchmen who are just delighted to have one ring of a stove and some canned food London is a sprawling city which can easily be made dingy and small particularly the London of the pre war years , and this is what Norman Collins evocative novel does London Belongs to Me is in many ways an epic tale following many characters over a number of years, but with such a concentration on the little details in life, it still manages to feel triumphantly undemonstrative and British.The ambitious narrative follows the residents of a South London boarding house the widowed landlady a couple and their daughter, a failed actress well past her prime, an overweight widower, another widow with the mechanic son as the apple of her eye and a newly arrived spiritualist Starting at Christmas 1938, it ends on the same occasion in 1940 As such it takes in the growing threat of Hitler, the start of the War, Dunkirk and the Blitz, all while examining the minutiae of these Londoner s lives An actual pr cis of the plot would be hard to pull off as there s just so much of it, but it does include young romance, old romance, politics, mental illness, murder, nightclubs, police raids, unsuitable flatmates, breach of promise suits and communion with the dead There are also a lot of visits to Lyon s Tea Houses, which I particularly like, as we don t have those any and they do seem a perfect symbol of lost London.Norman Collins an author I ve never encountered before ,weaves together these narratives magnificently well, creating believable characters with both flaws and virtues and having them deal with life in a way which seems so real, you can barely detect the author s hand Not all the plots work Dr Otto Hapfel, for example, really goes nowhere , but reading this feels like an excellent, empathetic slice of living history.A film was apparently made in 1947 with a real filleting of plot, from what I ve read on Wikipedia , and Thames adapted it in the 70s But if the BBC are looking round for something to make ten episodes of to fill their Sunday night schedules, they could do a lot worse.


  7. says:

    The strength of this book is not really its London setting It translates readily for anybody living anywhere particularly in England Norman Collins observes what makes the English working and middle classes tick with absolutely unerring accuracy, blends in comedy and drama and we have a glorious recipe for success Dated, yet curiously not dated do people really change that much Wasn t the London of the 1930s, with its all night cafes, rather a racier place than many of us live in today , even the placing of the book in the era 1938 1940, with tremendous historical events influencing the stories, takes nothing away from the urgency of wondering how poor Mrs Vizzard so tightly buttoned is faring with the unscrupulous Mr Squales in Dulcimer Street how poor Doreen puts up with Doris stealing her boyfriends at the studio flat in Adelaide Road I jest of the minor characters, dreadful Doreen is such a favourite of mine how poor old Connie will cope with being raided at The Moonrakers and whether Mr Puddy s food cupboard will hold up.I re read this book every five years or so, and never grow bored with it My only sorrow is that there was no follow up How did Mr and Mrs Josser end up Did Bill survive the war Did Mr Puddy burst a button or three when he was given his medal for bravery What happened when Percy Boon left prison Those things will never be revealed.The book is like spending time with old friends, and despite my sadness each time I reach the ending, I shall always make periodic returns to Dulcimer Street.


  8. says:

    I read London Belongs to Me hot on the heels of Patrick Hamilton s Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky and, as with that urban life, it is London that really shines as the star of the book.Interestingly at least to me , I live and have lived in the neighbourhoods depicted in both books Hamilton s Fitzrovia and Collins Kennington The suburbs south of the river might be less salubrious than Soho, but they are brought to life with the same colour and, despite the fact that the book depicts life in the 30s, there s still much for a local to recognise in the descriptions right down to the bus routes, which made me smile.Anyway, enough comparing the two It took me quite a while to get into this book and even once I did, I didn t particularly like any of the characters except poor, put on Mr Josser.Connie was an annoying busybody beyond compare, Mrs Josser was mean, Mr Puddy s comedy fat man voice grated and Percy deserved what he got.But then By the time war broke out, I cared deeply for all of them and became increasingly fond of them all I worried about whether they d survive the war, I wanted them to be happy and I wanted to hear how their stories ended.This really is a brilliantly written book I m just annoyed it took me the best part of six weeks to make any progress in it, because I devoured the second half in less than three days


  9. says:

    One of the most purely entertaining novels I ve read and enjoyed it may lack the intellectual or philosophical depth that would qualify London Belongs to Me as a true classic, it has a warmth and belief in humanity that makes it compelling and exciting.There s also a great cast of characters, ordinary people, who reside at No.10 Dulcimer St in Kennington Each major character and a fair few minor ones are fully rounded and easy to get hold of Connie, the ageing actress with a heart of gold and a mischievous sense of adventure, was probably my favourite, whilst the landlady Mrs Vizzard has a wide snobby streak and in my head at least that gorgeous, long lost shabby genteel accent and manners But even she is sympathetic, and most of them are, except perhaps for the Nazi spy and deceitful, hilarious Mr Squales Reading some of the other reviews of this novel, I can see those that enjoyed it as much as I did have a great affection for the novel I can see why I have it too And despite it not being a heavyweight, it does pack a punch This isn t a misty eyed romance or cosy comedy There s a hard edge to the humour and towards the end of the novel, some developments that surprised and moved me In tone, it belongs very much to its time along with Ealing comedies, but like those films it lasts because there is something very British and enduring about it The novel ends with people getting on with their lives, happily or unhappily, with the same uncertainty all people being honest would have to own up to This is a lovable book and for that reason I loved it.


  10. says:

    Description It is 1938 and the prospect of war hangs over London At the lodging house at 10 Dulcimer Street, Mr Josser returns home with the clock he has received as a retirement gift The other residents include flashy young mechanic Percy Boon, whose foray into stolen cars descends into something much, much worse.https www.youtube.com watch v BLcp9SE11 equates to today s Vauxhall Kennington Oval Alistair Sims was fab, what with his comb over ending in a kiss curl.


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