Rating: 5 stars
I can’t describe adequately how much I loved London Belongs to Me. The characters were so real, and it made me appreciate another side to London that reminded me that all big cities are home to someone. The writing style was of its time, but also as fresh as if it had been written yesterday. Even with the very specific setting of London in the Second World War, the people and their interactions with each other were timeless. The story has an engine of wry comedy that drives it on, with pathos and grit mixed in, too. I just loved it.
Since reading it, I’ve been telling anyone who will listen about this book. It is an incredible piece of literature – full of life, humour, pathos. It reads like a classic Ealing Film and it made me warm to London in a way I haven’t before. All of the characters are beautifully real, from the landlady of the house that acts as the focus of the novel, to her crazy fiancé who pretends to be a medium without realising he really is a medium, and the perpetually resting actress who likes to be in the thick of everyone’s business. The best characters, though, are the Josser family. They are every working class family from that era – resolute, principled, kind but not showy. I was sad when I had to close the book on them. I love it when characters become important to me like that.