This is a book about the joy of city life. The joy that comes from chance encounters, unexpected sights and sounds, glimmers of beauty flashing out from the grey and the rush of the everyday. The mix of people, shoulder to shoulder, sunbathing in parks, having a coffee, jumping on a bus, daydreaming on a bench. From this theatre of life, from this thrum of activity and private spots of solitude, can be drawn inspiration, emotion, memory.
Exploring the delight to be found in everyday interactions and chance observations, Look Here will chart an affecting map of London, navigating ideas of anonymity and identity, freedom and space (and who has access to these things), and community, while reflecting on whether the never-ending carousel of clothing we see on strangers holds some deeper meaning.
Wherever she goes, Ana Kinsella looks around her with a keen eye for small, illuminating details, and a love for variety and emotional connection. Look Here is a gorgeous, layered portrait of a city and its people, a book that urges us to slow down, look closer and find beauty.
‘A layered celebration of urban wandering, interaction and diversity.’ The London Magazine
‘A thoughtful study of the ways in which cities shape human life.’ Irish Times
‘A book about the art of people-watching, about chance encounters, and finding beauty in the greyness.’ Sunday Independent
‘Look Here is a luminous ode to the multiplicities of London that will make you reconsider the familiar and find new comfort in the unknown. Ana Kinsella is a brilliant cartographer of the urban spirit. Her beautiful writing combines the coolness and precision of Joan Didion with the textural vividness and lust for life found in Durga Chew-Bose’s work. Read this, and be dazzled.’ Sharlene Teo
‘Look Here is a luminous ode to cities and their people. Sharp and precise, yet full of feeling, Ana’s unique, infectious way of seeing the world transforms the most mundane train ride or walk into an act of creativity. This wonderful book is an invigorating reminder that style is not only about fashion or trends, but an essential, timeless form of self-expression for everyone, everywhere.’ Lisa Owens
‘I loved Look Here for for many reasons, in particular, for allowing us into Kinsella’s shifting embodied and emotional experience of the city as a space in which we can deepen our understanding the world and also, ourselves. A nuanced and intimate portrait of a life lived in cities in distinctive and gorgeous prose that kept me eagerly turning pages to see where Kinsella would take me next.’ Rebecca May Johnson
‘I loved strolling through London with Ana Kinsella, noticing all the things she notices, what people are wearing on the Tube or at the Tate Modern, listening in on her chats with the locals, reading about the history of Embankment, the privatization of public spaces, or the pandemic passeggiata. And the shoes! A whole anthropology of London through its footwear. Look Here renewed my desire to get up and out into the streets of the city I now call home, but not without first practising that other great and under-appreciated act of joy and self-determination: deciding what to wear when I hit the pavement.’ Lauren Elkin
‘Quiet, thoughtful homage to London life in all its kaleidoscopic glory. Above all, this is an ode to the simple, but rewarding pleasures of people-watching. Time spent pounding the pavement in Kinsella’s company is time well spent.’ Jini Reddy
‘It’s a gentle, meandering but compelling read – I saw my own city through new eyes, its sparkle, its dark corners and felt that Ana had captured both its effervescence and its quietude. I felt drawn in, somehow a willing, readerly witness to her lone perambulations. The city’s embrace. It felt both familiar and strange, the words as carefully paced as her footsteps as she walked the city, saying “on we go”.’ Claire Wilcox
‘An idiosyncratic mashup of interviews, memoir and flanerie, all shaped by [a] sharp, empathic gaze . . . Here is a book to make you love London – with all its synchronicity and serendipity.’ Observer
‘A beautifully nuanced consideration of London that doubles as an argument for the joy of city life, it’s a book that manages to give fresh insight on the intimate connections we develop with the cities we inhabit.’ AnOther Magazine
‘A book about the art of people-watching, about chance encounters and finding beauty in the greyness.’ The Irish Independent