A Stranger City
- Author Linda Grant
- Narrator Olivia Dowd
- Publisher Little, Brown Book Group
- Run Time 8 hours and 47 minutes
- Format Audio
- Genre Modern and contemporary fiction.
Listen to a sample
What to expect
WINNER OF THE WINGATE LITERARY PRIZE 2020 `A superb piece of writing about London life. Past Wingate winners include Zadie Smith, Amos Oz and David Grossman’
‘[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
‘A compelling portrait of contemporary London, it’s a novel fit for shifting, uncertain times’ Suzi Feay, Financial Times
‘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
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.
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 headingDaily Mail
[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 railingsThe Economist
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 timesFinancial Times
Grant conveys how these sentiments affect her individuals with insightful emotional accuracySunday Times
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 inEvening Standard
Stranger City is a lush love letter to London that asks questions about what cost Brexit will have on [Grant’s] adopted city and its diverse inhabitants . . . the history and ideas about what makes a city tick tumble out of her pen, and she draws her characters with a realist’s attention to detailThe Times
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