In unfailingly elegant prose, V. S. Pritchett provides a timeless distillation of the city of London and the London experience. He shows us the capital through the centuries – a panorama of history, art, and literature; a paradox of grandeur and grime, the bustling markets and tranquil parks, the palaces and pubs.
At the heart of the book is an astute and affectionate portrait of the Londoner – enigmatic and enduring, with a remote but insistent respect for law, royalty, and ritual, a love of argument, a tolerance of eccentrics. Pritchett gives us famous Londoners – Wren, Pepys, Dickens – and the ordinary folk – milkmen and shopkeepers, Chelsea pensioners, and the London bobby.
London Perceived tells the surprising story of this great and historic city – Londoners will see their home anew, and visitors appreciate its small wonders. A loving tribute to London past and present.
‘He is alarmingly good . . . Pritchett’s essays are marvels.’ James Wood
‘A splendid book.’ New York Times
‘Beautiful, stylish, and an invitation to look at London in a whole new light.’ Ben Judah