No editor is credited for this quirky and entertaining volume, although one assumes from the introduction that responsibility is handled by the duo behind the guerrilla publisher Influx Press, Gary Budden and Kit Caless. And what a beguiling collection they have assembled! The strapline reads ’23 London writers explore a city not found in any guide book… except this one’. And while we are promised ‘bad advice’, ‘limited scope’ and ‘no practical use’, that jokey heading is not really apposite, in the company of such eclectic writers as M John Harrison, Courttia Newland and Sunny Singh. We are taken into both the obscure and the well-known locales of London via small-scale dramas that subtly illuminate both the characters and the areas — it’s a book to read and then put in one’s pocket before visiting the variety of locations discussed. There are one or two misfires here (what collection of stories doesn’t?), but almost every entry has something to offer, such as Sunny Singh’s melancholy tale about a series of encounters on a park bench between a man and a woman that has the reader both anticipating and dreading the ending. It’s just one gem in an engaging and provocative collection.
M John Harrison; Chloe Aridjis; Yvvette Edwards; Courttia Newland; Will Wiles; Noo Saro-Wiwa; Nikesh Shukla; Juliet Jacques; Salena Godden; Stephen Thompson; Irenosen Okojie; Sunny Singh; Paul Ewen; Tim Burrows; George F.; Gareth E. Rees; Aki Schilz; Tim Wells; Koye Oyedeji; Eley Williams; Stephanie Victoire
Paperback ISBN: 978-1910312223
Publication date: 9th July 2016