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Winter 2019 PGC Master Catalogue

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The Last London
True Fictions from an Unreal City
By (author): Iain Sinclair
9781786073303 Paperback, Trade English General Trade TRAVEL / Europe / Great Britain May 24, 2019
$22.50 CAD
Active 5.19 x 7.68 x 0.97 in 336 pages Oneworld Publications
London. A city apart. Inimitable. Or so it once seemed. Spiralling from the outer limits of the Overground to the pinnacle of the Shard, Iain Sinclair encounters a metropolis stretched beyond recognition. The vestiges of secret tunnels, the ghosts of saints and lost poets lie buried by developments, the cycling revolution and Brexit. An electrifying final odyssey, The Last London is an unforgettable vision of the Big Smoke before it disappears into the air of memory.

Iain Sinclair is the award-winning writer of numerous critically acclaimed books on London, including Lights Out for the Territory, London Orbital and London Overground. He won the Encore Award and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for his novel Downriver. He lives in Hackney, East London.

"This is vintage Sinclair: mature, acerbic, sharply observant and original, as always. I have admired him since I read his first novel, White Chappell, Scarlet Tracings, a vivid investigation of the Ripper myth. His Lights Out for the Territory remains one of the greatest pieces of non-fiction published in English since the War. In The Last London his imagination is at full force. He has never been better, never been funnier. This is the finest contemporary writing we have. I relished every page."

"Iain Sinclair's The Last London is an angry, poignant and frequently hilarious elegy to a London that has lost its soul. He chronicles ?twilight days of tramping in search of mislaid selves, stories uncompleted and forgotten friends?. The post-Brexit gloom never quite overwhelms Sinclair's phantasmagorical city. The infernal Olympicopolis may inspire dread pelotons of self-righteous cyclists, joggers and Mamils into a war on Sinclair's trails. But the return of Andrew Kötting and other renegade nonconformists familiar from earlier odysseys suggest that Sinclair is weaving a new myth for a wiser London."

"In this majestic culmination, Britain's finest writer wraps up what turns out to have been one enormous opus, puts a truly lustrous finish on our finish, and, as gently as is possible, tells us where we and everything we knew have gone. In a career of masterpieces, this is Sinclair's masterpiece."

"Across five decades, [Sinclair] has been prowling the streets, part poet, part satirist part prophet. Very few authors have fashioned a London more real than the one we see: Dickens, Conan-Doyle, Patrick Hamilton, Angela Carter. Sinclair is firmly among them."

“[A] marvelous essayist … You don’t read Iain Sinclair just because he’s an expert on London’s multilayered urban life; what matters, as with Joyce, is his prose, page after page of verbal riffs and astonishments.... His books, then, are hybrids, like so much of Joyce — and Kafka, W.G. Sebald, Robert Walser and Georges Perec.... This isn’t a book you can race through. Instead you’ll want to take your time, look around and occasionally listen in on conversations, as you saunter along with Sinclair on these rambles into a strange and vanishing London."
--Michael Dirda inThe Washington Post
"A wonderful observer, a spot-on imagist of the urban scene.... Sinclair has many attractions as a writer: a powerful gift for imagery and phrase-making; a keen curiosity; sympathy; anger at the destruction of the past and the public realm; vituperation; humor."
--The New York Review of Books

“Sinclair’s language is special and specialized, muscular, unsentimental, immodest in its ornateness, “inimitable” in the sense (true of so many great stylists) that it’s quite easy to imitate badly, but impossibly hard to imitate well.”
--The Los Angeles Review of Books
"Sinclair’s appreciation and frustration with London is conveyed through a complicated style that defies linear reading. Much like painted walls by artist Banksy, this city collage captures the strife inherent in loving an ancient yet modern metropolis.”
"Readers interested in popular culture and the history of London and who enjoy challenging and provocative essays will find this volume at times enraging, amusing, and eye-opening.”
--Library Journal
"Sinclair is a prose artist of rare talent."
--3AM Magazine
". If this is truly Sinclair’s final word on the city as he claims, he has saved the best for last."
--STARRED Review, Publishers Weekly
"Readers interested in the history of London will greatly enjoy tracing the author's walks, and even those who think they know everything about London may be pleasantly surprised. This is no ordinary memoir, but we wouldn't expect such from one of England's most inventive psychogeographic writers. Patience will reward each reader in his or her own way.”
--STARRED Kirkus Review

"It takes a poet to write prose as good as this. There is no doubt that future historians will have to look to Sinclair for an insight into the London of our era."

“London has been the almost obsessive focus of award-winning author Iain Sinclair’s writing for half of his life. But this city of his—with its peculiar myths and mysteries, its denizens of dark alleyways and park benches, its scholars and ghosts, its moist air and dark river currents—has stretched its known boundaries beyond recognition.
London has become, Sinclair writes, “a suburb of everywhere: Mexico City, Istanbul, Athens. The same malls. The same managed alienation. The Babel of misunderstood tongues.” Traveling its length and breadth, much of the time on foot and alone, he complains that he can no longer tell where the real London begins and ends. “London was everywhere,” he writes, “but it had lost its soul.” Sinclair knows that his years of stalking the hidden truths of the city that for so long inspired, provoked, and sustained his writing have come to an end: “My sense was that London, my home for fifty years, was being centrifugally challenged to the point of obliteration.” Darkly, he compares its spread to that of “a single cancerous cell.” Restless, he needs to walk on but is not sure where. Sinclair brings a rare gift for imagery and description to cap his life’s work on the city that absorbs him. His book is a symphony in words, dedicated to a London where vagrants “sprawled in purgatorial exhaustion”; hotels with “suspiciously pastoral names throbbed with sullen and illicit conjunctions”; and smokers, their hands cupped around their cigarettes, “waited for death on the pavement.”
By turns majestic, poetic, angry, funny, critical, and concerned, Sinclair’s prose is captivating as it laments the demise of what once made London unique among cities.”

"One can only marvel at Sinclair’s eye for telling detail and his sense of the subtle ironies of modern London life…With its elegantly civilised melancholy for what is lost, neglected or hidden, Sinclair’s position is highly seductive."

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