The Norton Book of London

A. N. Wilson, Author W. W. Norton & Company $50 (480p) ISBN 978-0-393-03631-2
To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, as is frequently done in this quirky anthology, a reader who is tired of compilations about London is tired of life. This is a pretty fair one, arranged under heads like ``Monuments,'' ``London at War,'' ``Seedy,'' ``Characters'' and ``Love.'' The pleasure in perusing such books is being introduced to new writers, or old friends in unfamiliar contexts, and being indignant about omissions. Wilson seems unduly fond of David Thomson, whose dull book In Camden Town gets constantly quoted; but he offers gems from Anthony Powell's novels, some unexpected moments such as Noel Coward's ``London Pride,'' good bits from Iris Murdoch and Rose Macaulay and ripe chunks of Dickens. He errs in offering nothing from J.B. Priestley's Angel Pavement, one of the great London novels, and in offering only an uncharacteristic snippet from Martin Amis's London Fields. But there's much to enjoy, even if it's sometimes an irritant to have a quote identified by date of publication rather than by the actual period it covers. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 02/27/1995
Release date: 03/01/1995
Genre: Fiction
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