Saturday, 19 January 2008

Ordinary Night London

Just came across this on Flickr and thought it was great. Made all the more so because there is a nice story behind it. One of those ones that makes a little incision into the ordinary, lets you take a peek in and closes up when you're done. I love little things like that, events that don't change anything but are nonetheless thoroughly interesting.

I read a book like that last month, which starts with a crisp London nightscape. A neurosurgeon, unable to sleep, peers out into the night to see a plane with an engine on fire gliding across the cool night's sky, with the BT tower in the foreground. The book is Saturday by Ian McEwan.

The plotlessness of it - whilst being the primary cause of dislike among many Amazon reviewers - was the gateway to an exquisite celebration of the ordinary, which manages to capture something about what it is like to live in London right now.

I recommend this book with caution because people are clearly split between viewing this as boring, smug drivel and a work of majestic literary observation. In a geekier moment, I noticed this is supported by the soft u-shaped function that has emerged from the review graph on Amazon.

If you love the rich details of ordinary life then this is unmissable; if not, it's not.

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