Christopher Woodward

Capital Losses

The Last London: True Fictions from an Unreal City


Oneworld 324pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

Iain Sinclair has walked the M25 for London Orbital and from Epping Forest to the Midlands to retrace John Clare’s flight from an asylum to his childhood home. This time he laces up his boots to crisscross London before it vanishes. He is confused, he declares: the city in which he has lived for fifty years has been ‘centrifugally challenged to the point of obliteration’. Will London become a ‘suburb of everywhere: Mexico City, Istanbul, Athens’? He ends on the eve of Brexit, walking from his home in Hackney to the site of the Battle of Hastings. When the vote is announced, he declares that London has been ‘abolished’.

Sinclair is a cult. His name on the cover of the London Review of Books is what F Scott Fitzgerald’s was to the Saturday Evening Post. The fans who pack his performances this autumn will get what they expect: graffiti read as street runes, eloquent puzzlement at the absurdity of word and image on the hoardings of hospitals gentrified into flats, and the same cast of companions in the alleys and underpasses – obscure dead writers and artists, even more obscure living writers, and forgotten English masterpieces found on second-hand bookstalls.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Tarantino's latest film is 'a fairy tale about Hollywood, where fantasy is an industrial product and the boulevards… ,
    • 'I don’t think we’re here on Earth to be Happy. I think we’re here on Earth to help God. I am a messianic writer'.… ,
    • 'Darley’s book is not a mad dash through this most compelling and complex of English counties. Nor is it another ti… ,
    • 'Moser’s book offers such a gripping account of a profoundly damaged human being, trapped in a cycle of repetition,… ,
    • 'Ideas that I’d thought were set down in full continue to smoulder ... this book is only a snapshot of some larger… ,
    • 'Full of invention which, at its most pedestrian, is eminently Victorian, and at its most unrestrained wildly imagi… ,
    • 'What in other hands could have been a dry, pedantic account of Christianity’s birth and evolution becomes in Holla… ,