Book Review : This is London

This is London (44)

by Ben Judah

Everyone who spends enough time in London has their own unique perspective on the capital. For each of us the way we see this complex and interesting city but it’s always going to be informed on how and where we’ve spent our time in Town.

You see I love London but my perspective is informed by seeing much of what makes London great. However this book explores a different side of London life often informed by the people who make London their home from other countries.

From beggars, to tube workers, to women in the sex trade, to the domestics of the mega wealthy, Ben often paints an intense, dark, depressing vision of London.

The book often describes how poverty and desperation neighbours affluence and wealth in London.

It also has a number of running themes. One theme is how different the perception and reality of a life in London truly is for so many who call this town their new home. Another is how manipulation and exploitation is prevalent in the shadows of London.

The stories Ben tells are spread far and wide, from East to West, North to South and scarilly in places I’m hugely familiar with like Ilford, Barking and East London.

There’s also glimmers of hope. In particular a love story so sweet it made me cry despite the rest of the book being so dark

I found this book incredibly insightful and interesting.

It’s well researched, intricately described and provides real insight into how many people in London who you might never meet live their lives.

If you’re from London, or even if you’re not, and you want a fresh perspective into a City you think you know well…This is London may be well worth reading.


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