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A Stranger City

Jewish Quarterly Wingate Prize, 2020

Digital (deliver electronic) / ISBN-13: 9780349010472

Price: £9.99

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WINNER OF THE WINGATE LITERARY PRIZE 2020

When a dead body is found in the Thames, caught in the chains of HMS Belfast, it begins a search for a missing woman.

A policeman, a documentary film-maker and an Irish nurse named Chrissie all respond to the death of the unknown woman in their own ways. London is a place of random meetings, shifting relationships – and some, like Chrissie, intersect with many. The wonderful Linda Grant weaves a tale around ideas of home; how London can be a place of exile or expulsion, how home can be a physical place or an idea, how all our lives intersect.

‘Reminds us of the depth and strength of the communities that are our beloved London. Thank you’ Philippe Sands

‘There’s a Dickensian quality to the opening scene and yet it’s one of the most bitingly contemporary publications of the year – a shifting, polyphonic narrative’ Hephzibah Anderson, Mail on Sunday

‘There is a richness in this novel, found in a migrant experience that is deeply embedded rather than distinct from its environment… a compelling read’ Jake Arnott, Guardian

‘The novel is fleet-footed… the way even the minor characters flare into life gives the novel richness and depth… a novel fit for shifting, uncertain times’ Suzi Feay, Financial Times

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Reviews

[A] shimmering new novel . . . Grant's book is as much a love letter to London as a lament, an ode to pink skin after sunny days and lost gloves waving from railings
The Economist
One of the great novels about London. Unsparing about what makes it ugly, cold-hearted, fractured; but also a hymn of love, full of characters so generously, so compassionately portrayed. And, of course, it's beautifully written
Tom Holland
I really enjoyed A Stranger City, a book that begins with a body in the Thames and with a bold nod at Dickens's Our Mutual Friend. This is a dangerous London of bristling present and haunting future, in which nothing is quite as it seems and everyone has a past that may stretch tolerance or demand surveillance. It's a gripping read
Lisa Appignanesi, Tablet
There is a richness in this novel, found in a migrant experience that is deeply embedded rather than distinct from its environment. Everyone has a complex heritage; even comfortable, integrated lives seem precarious . . . the real achievement of A Stranger City is the way in which its narrative is as fractured and uncertain as the London it portrays. And despite its contemporary relevance, the novel avoids becoming a "state of the nation" tract - it's far too emotionally intelligent for that. It's as much a novel of feelings as ideas, and this is what makes it a compelling read
Jake Arnott, Guardian
Grant is superb on London life, which is at once atomised and seen as a web of unlikely connections. However, as her by turns humorous and horrifying tale circles and deepens, her deft peeling back of the capital's layers raises increasingly unsettling questions about where all of us might be heading
Stephanie Cross, Daily Mail
The novel is fleet-footed . . . Londoners of all ages, backgrounds and hues throng the novel . . . The plot's seemingly haphazard quality mirrors the contingency of urban life but the way Grant makes even the minor characters flare into life gives the novel richness and depth. A compelling portrait of contemporary London, it's a novel fit for shifting, uncertain times
Suzi Feay, Financial Times
A Stranger City is a lush love letter to London that asks questions about what cost Brexit will have on [Grant's] adopted city and its diverse inhabitants . . . the history and ideas about what makes a city tick tumble out of her pen, and she draws her characters with a realist's attention to detail
The Times
[A] stunning novel . . . Grant weaves together lots of intricate strands into a meaningful, poignant tale about the loneliness and randomness of big-city life
Joanne Finney, Good Housekeeping
There's a Dickensian quality to the opening scene of Grant's seventh novel, yet it's one of the most bitingly contemporary publications of the year - a shifting, polyphonic narrative that seamlessly braids terrorism, climate change, racism, social media and, of course, Brexit
Hephzibah Anderson, Mail on Sunday
This is a book to whizz through breathlessly. And to laugh at... A Stranger City feels like a very important novel for right now: no politically ponderous diatribe but a witty, sunlounger-accessible and deeply humanising story about people - about us - and the societal shipwreck we're stuck in
Evening Standard
Grant conveys how these sentiments affect her individuals with insightful emotional accuracy
Sunday Times