Gillian Tindall

Lines of Site

Britannia Obscura: Mapping Hidden Britain


Jonathan Cape 192pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

All maps leave things out. They have to, not merely to fit the information they want to give into a format many thousand of times smaller than the actual stretch of land or sea, but also in order to present it with some selective coherence. Road maps are for people sitting behind steering wheels and greatly exaggerate the width of the roads while often omitting railway lines altogether. Tourist maps of towns represent ancient monuments and shops as unnaturally large while ignoring side streets. The mental maps of taxi drivers in India appear to consist entirely of landmark buildings and tea stalls. If cats had maps they would show a house as a series of desirable warm spots, soft surfaces, hiding places and escape routes.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Whom did Picasso label a 'bristly pig'? Read Rosalind P Blakesley's review of The Collector by Natalya Semenova to… ,
    • Alexandra Gajda on Anna Beer's new biography, Patriot or Traitor: The Life and Death of Sir Walter Ralegh ,
    • Mark Lawson reviews @jonathancoe's Middle England - The Rotters' Club for our Brexit age. ,
    • 'Behind every book that is published lies ... a haunted landscape, populated by the ghosts of things written and ex… ,
    • 'We once more live in a great age of dragon invention' Here's Tom Shippey on Martin Arnold's The Dragon ,
    • RT : Man at the q&a part of the book panel: Don't say it Don't say it Don't say it Don't say it Don't say it Don't s… ,
    • Here's @epkaufm's Whiteshift, reviewed in this month's magazine by ,