The Last London

Pages: 336
Subject: Current Affairs
Imprint: Oneworld

The Last London

True Fictions from an Unreal City

Iain Sinclair

The final chapter in Sinclair's life-long odyssey through the streets of the Big Smoke
Hardback
9781786071743 (7 Sep 2017)
RRP £18.99 / US$24.99

The Book

Iain Sinclair has been documenting the peculiar magic of the river-city that absorbs and obsesses him for most of his adult life. In The Last London, he strikes out on a series of solitary walks and collaborative expeditions to make a final reckoning with a capital stretched beyond recognition. Here is a mesmerising record of secret scholars and whispering ghosts. Of disturbing encounters. Night hospitals. Pits that become cameras. Mole Man labyrinths. And privileged swimming pools, up in clouds, patrolled by surveillance helicopters. Where now are the myths, the ultimate fictions of a many times revised city?

Travelling from the pinnacle of the Shard to the outer limits of the London Overground system at Croydon and Barking, from the Thames Estuary to the future ruins of Olympicopolis, Sinclair reflects on where London begins and where it ends. A memoir, a critique, a love letter, The Last London is a delirious conclusion to a truly epic project.

Additional Information

Subject Current Affairs
Pages 336
Imprint Oneworld

 

About the Author

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.

Reviews

‘A coming together of everything that has made this great chronicler of the English capital such a compelling and perceptive guide… When late 20th- and early 21st-century London pass into distant history, it is Sinclair who will make sense of a time when "everything is pop-up, nothing is true”.'

- Observer

‘Very few authors have fashioned a London more real than the one we see… Here in this brilliant, crackling series of final walks through the London landscape, he finds the dissolving identity of the city increasingly disconcerting.'

- Spectator

‘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.'

- Daily Telegraph

The Last London is an elegy for a London that is now over. The artists, the homeless, the eccentrics - the people Sinclair has always been on the side of - are moving out, or being moved out. The city seems to want him out too. He receives cards from estate agents urging him to "sell up, cash in, get out”… He writes a kind of Imagist prose, in which what Ezra Pound called the "luminous details” of poetic observation are compressed and transmuted into something altogether fresh… Like all true styles it's infectious stuff. Read a bit of him and you start to think like him. Read too much and you might try to write like him… Sinclair has always been a collaborator, standing against the co-option of space and narrative by capital and grand political visionaries. Underpinning all his work is a vision of the commons, describing both the places we inhabit and the stories we are allowed to tell, which are out there in the world, waiting to be shared. It's sad to think that London will, of course, go on without him.'

- Guardian

'If this really is the last of Sinclair's London, he'll leave you wanting more.'

- Prospect

‘Without [Sinclair] there to bear witness to 21st century London, many of the city's historic delights, surreal ironies and brutal hypocrisies would pass by unnamed.'

- Financial Times

‘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.'

- Alan Moore

‘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.'

- Barry Miles

‘Iain Sinclair's 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.'

- Toby Jones

‘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.'

- Michael Moorcock

‘Mourning London's alteration into a site in which "everything is pop-up, nothing is true,” Sinclair is nonetheless the liveliest of guides. If this is truly Sinclair's final word on the city as he claims, he has saved the best for last.'

- Publishers Weekly, starred review

‘An unconventional, atmospheric exploration of London from one its most unique chroniclers… This is a book by a man who knows London seemingly inch by inch.'

- Kirkus, starred review