By Keith Waterhouse
A tour de force from the author of Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell and Billy Liar.
No London neighbourhood more resembles the restless downstream tide of the Thames than the ragged square mile of Soho. Ask the people who live there, like Christine Yardley, drag queen by night and grey-suited accountant by day; or Len Gates, self-appointed Soho historian and bore; or Jenny Wise, former starlet and now resident lush in the New Kismet club; or even Ellis Hugo Bell, wannabe film producer who dreams of moving to LA. Daily, nightly, shift by shift, their numbers are swelled by immigrants flocking to work, eat, drink and loiter, from kitchen staff to dress designers, hookers to pushers to punters.
Down into this human rabbit warren one evening slips Alex Singer, a student from Leeds in pursuit of his errant girlfriend, whose search takes him from club to pub and into contact with a rich cross-section of Soho life. Twenty-four hours, three deaths, one fire and one mugging later, seduced, traduced and befriended, Alex is on his way to the Soho Ball.
In this fast, funny and superbly crafted novel, Keith Waterhouse draws a vibrant portrait of London's liveliest quarter and its eccentric inhabitants.
In a long and highly successful career, Keith Waterhouse published fifteen novels, including Billy Liar (which has been filmed and staged) and Our Song (also staged), seven non-fiction books and seven collections of journalism. He wrote widely for television, cinema and the theatre, including the highly successful play Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell. He also published two acclaimed memoirs, City Lights and Streets Ahead. He died on 4th September 2009.
- Other details
- Publication date:
27 Mar 2014
- Page count:
Pin-sharp and teeming with gloriously reprehensible characters — Mail on Sunday
The work of a master — The Sunday Times
Effortlessly brilliant . . . a comedy of London life which tastes as fresh as a new-baked croissant — Sunday Telegraph
Waterhouse . . . at his most entertaining and mischievous — Daily Express
As well as being a fast-paced farce, a string of encounters and incidents that could keep a full pub of people entertained for several evenings on end, [it] is an elegy to a vanishing world. Soho the place may not be quite what it was, but in Soho the novel, Waterhouse brings it vibrantly to life — Glasgow Herald
A wonderful evocation of a part of London the author loves and he has succeeded superbly in capturing its sleazy yet alluring nature — Tribune