978-1-86046-107-1 / 9781860461071

Soft City: A Documentary Exploration of Metropolitan Life


Publisher:Harvill Press



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About the book:

Jonathan Raban's 1997 novel Bad Land won both the National Book Critics Circle Award and the PEN Award for Creative Non-fiction. Soft City, a work dating back to 1974, contains much of the same award-winning style of narrative, wit and compassion for the subject.

Meticulously researched, Soft City is an insider's guide to the stresses and strains of city life. Flicking between many cities, but primarily London and New York, the reader is shown the true horror and, to an extent, joy of life in a modern metropolis. The reasons why people flock to cities, why some stay and why some leave are some of the many topics covered. Raban's observations are all too real. His sharp, poignant wit gracefully lightens his factual presentation. Raban's dialogue is truly a joy to read. Overheard conversations in restaurants and muffled voices heard through unsubstantial walls are penned in a lively, if not voyeuristic, form. This is a surprising page-turner from beginning to end, and a real classic in the literature of the city. It may be advisable not to live in or visit a conurbation without a copy. --Jon Smith

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