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A Stranger City


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About the Author

Linda Grant is author of five non-fiction books and seven novels. She won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2000 and the Lettre Ulysses Prize for Literary Reportage in 2006. The Clothes on Their Backs was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2008 and went on to win the South Bank Show Award. The Dark Circle was shortlisted for the 2017 Women's Prize for Fiction. Her latest novel, A Stranger City, was published in 2019. Linda Grant lives in London. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and holds honorary doctorates from the University of York and John Moores University.


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 heading -- Stephanie Cross * Daily 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 railings * The 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 times -- Suzi Feay * Financial Times *
Grant conveys how these sentiments affect her individuals with insightful emotional accuracy * Sunday 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 in * Evening 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 detail * The Times *
[A] stunning novel . . . Grant weaves together lots of intricate strands into a meaningful, poignant tale about the loneliness and randomness of big-city life -- Joanne Finney * Good Housekeeping *
There's a Dickensian quality to the opening scene of Grant's seventh novel, yet it's one of the most bitingly contemporary publications of the year - a shifting, polyphonic narrative that seamlessly braids terrorism, climate change, racism, social media and, of course, Brexit -- Hephzibah Anderson * Mail on Sunday *
There is a richness in this novel, found in a migrant experience that is deeply embedded rather than distinct from its environment. Everyone has a complex heritage; even comfortable, integrated lives seem precarious . . . the real achievement of A Stranger City is the way in which its narrative is as fractured and uncertain as the London it portrays. And despite its contemporary relevance, the novel avoids becoming a "state of the nation" tract - it's far too emotionally intelligent for that. It's as much a novel of feelings as ideas, and this is what makes it a compelling read -- Jake Arnott * Guardian *
One of the great novels about London. Unsparing about what makes it ugly, cold-hearted, fractured; but also a hymn of love, full of characters so generously, so compassionately portrayed. And, of course, it's beautifully written -- Tom Holland * @holland_tom *
I really enjoyed A Stranger City a book that begins with a body in the Thames and with a bold nod at Dickens's Our Mutual Friend. This is a dangerous London of bristling present and haunting future, in which nothing is quite as it seems and everyone has a past that may stretch tolerance or demand surveillance. It's a gripping read -- Lisa Appignanesi * Tablet *

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