London Belongs to Me – Norman Collins (1945)

As part of the ongoing Scary Big Books (SBB) project, I have just finished reading one of the all-time biggest (in terms of number of pages read) books that I have ever read. Overall opinion of this Scary Big Book entry: Meh.  (Which is a shame really, as I did end up using a lot of reading time to get this one completed. And I know, I know: it’s not a job but I really wanted to finish this one as it was so BIG!)

It was 702 pages of fairly interesting rather soap-opera-y narrative about a small group of unrelated residents who all live at Number 10 Dulcimer Street in London. It’s well written – you can tell the author was experienced in working with television plots as he did have a lot of character strings all going at the same time which would have worked well with the episodic nature of a television series.  I think some of the activity that the characters got up was a bit OTT at times, and then how also some of them got very caught up in each other’s lives, but perhaps that is how it was back then pre-WWII. Besides, it probably made a better story overall in the end.


I had thought that I was going to be sucked into this chatty world of gritty London characters whereas it seemed as though it was more a few episodes of Coronation Street (or perhaps East Enders?). I thought the book could have been edited substantially, although it did give a good flavor of life for ordinary people just as WWII was on the horizon. The edition that I had was also fairly liberal in typos which got more annoying as the pages progressed.

However, not a bad read. Just not as good a read as I had hoped considering the time invested in it. (Perhaps this is linked with why I did not connect with “And Ladies of the Club…” Maybe I’m just not a saga person in the end.)

I think it’s fair to say that that is all the Norman Collins’ titles that I’ll pick up for the near future.


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