Just finished ‘London belongs to me’ by Norman Collins, and it’s took me quite a while to read it (just saving it for bedtime reading). I enjoyed it very much. On the face of it looked like it may have mirrored Patrick Hamilton’s Hangover Square’, but apart from it being set in a shared house in Wartime London, there ends the comparison.
There are some interesting characters in the story of the house in Dulcimer Street, Kennington and all of them are brought vividly alive by Collins. The Josser family are more or less at the hub of the story. It starts with Mr Josser’s retirement farewell, and ends with his re instatement. In the middle, adjustments are made to all the residents lives and their life styles. The lonely widowed land lady, her suitor and lodger the enigmatic Mr Squales are amongst the characters that also share this house in London.
The Boons, consisting of mother and son Percy, a mechanic deals with the way the legal system works and how respectability can be lost very quickly. Other characters include Connie, an old-time showgirl, a rather sad character, but a survivor (well for most of the book). She is ‘old’, though we don’t find out how ancient she actually is. Connie always seems to be there, in the wrong or right place when something exciting is happening – most of it, profitable in some way to the old girl.
There’s also a character who’d whole life revolves around making meals – a Mr Puddy. He must have aneroid trouble, given the way he speaks – but the writing makes it easy to understand what he’s saying. Meanwhile while all the large and small dramas are being played out: black out curtains are dutifully drawn and life goes on regardless. A highly enjoyable and diverting read, a jolly good book and very well written. I was very sorry to have finished it.
Note: This post has been transferred from my art blog Echostains. I shall be transferring my book, DVD and film reviews to this space.