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Distributed for Reaktion Books

All the Tiny Moments Blazing

A Literary Guide to Suburban London

From Evelyn Waugh to P. G. Wodehouse and Lawrence Durrell, a sweeping celebration of literature set in and inspired by the suburbs of London.

The London suburbs have, for more than two hundred and fifty years, fired the creative literary imagination: whether this is Samuel Johnson hiding away in bucolic preindustrial Streatham, Italo Svevo cheering on Charlton Athletic Football Club down at The Valley, or Angela Carter hymning the joyful “wrongness” of living south-of-the-river in Brixton. From Richmond to Rainham, Cockfosters to Croydon, this sweeping literary tour of the thirty-two London Boroughs describes how writers, from the seventeenth century on, have responded to and fictionally reimagined London’s suburbs. It introduces us to the great suburban novels, such as Hanif Kureishi’s Bromley-set The Buddha of Suburbia, Lawrence Durrell’s The Black Book, and Zadie Smith’s NW. It also reveals the lesser-known short stories, diaries, poems, local guides, travelogues, memoirs, and biographies, which together show how these communities have long been closely observed, keenly remembered, and brilliantly imagined.

480 pages | 6 halftones, 6 maps | 6 1/4 x 9 1/4

Literature and Literary Criticism: British and Irish Literature

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"Urban magnetism is now under threat but Pope’s charming circuit of London’s suburbs and the figures who frequented them in All The Tiny Moments Blazing is a reminder that cities have coped with worse. Even urban smog has its benefits: 'Monet worked in the park whilst I, living at Lower Norwood, at that time a charming suburb, studied the effects of fog, snow and springtime,' Camille Pissarro wrote of 1870."

Financial Times

"What Pope does brilliantly is map an alternative and largely neglected corpus of London-based texts, one that is very different from the typical fare of ‘literary London.' Although some of the usual suspects recur time and again—Dickens, H. G. Wells, Iain Sinclair—the guide is replete with new and forgotten voices. . . . As a genre, guides are designed to prepare us for travel, to provide us with ways of interpreting our experiences, and—perhaps most importantly—to encourage us to step into otherwise unknown territory. Pope does all of this, and equips us for our own exciting suburban adventures."

London Journal

"A love letter to the suburbs, an ode to London's less flashy streets."

Dulwich Diverter

“Dr Johnson said, ‘you must not be satisfied with seeing its great streets and squares, but must survey the innumerable little lanes and courts. It is not in the showy evolutions of buildings, but in the multiplicity of human habitations which are crowded together, that the wonderful immensity of London consists.’ How right he was—and this tremendous compendium proves it.”

Brixton Review of Books

"Pope takes the reader on a comprehensive and extremely readable literary tour of thirty-two London suburban boroughs... All the Tiny Moments Blazing is a comprehensive literary gazetteer, providing fascinating insights into the social, political, and cultural life of London suburbs."

Canberra Times

"At last! Pope has produced an indispensable guide for those of us who love the London suburbs, love books, and, above all, love books set in the suburbs. It’s all here, across the boroughs and through the centuries; comedy, crime, romance, pastoral escape and urban traps, exile, boredom and fear, fun, parenting, and . . . Martian invaders."

Sandi Toksvig, writer, broadcaster, performer

"Pope's book about suburban London is a superbly curated compendium of writers' representations of its mysterious, ever-changing geographies, one that makes them seem every bit as culturally and socially important as the city's various historic centers. Urgently and vividly written, it is full of scintillating insight into the public and private lives of the suburbs' inhabitants through the centuries. All the Tiny Moments Blazing will make every reader, whatever their relationship to the suburbs, rethink the history of London."

Matthew Beaumont, author of "Nightwalking: A Nocturnal History of London"

"As someone who loves both literature and suburbia—and the literature of suburbia—All the Tiny Moments Blazing is the book I have been waiting a lifetime to read. It is a social history, an anthology, and a gazetteer rolled into one. Pope takes the reader on a fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable tour of the places most of us actually live."

Andy Miller, author of "The Year of Reading Dangerously"

"For anyone remotely interested in London and its people, it’s an essential and highly readable volume. I can’t imagine why nobody ever thought of it before."

Christopher Fowler, author of the Bryant & May mysteries

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