“Author Jonathan Raban’s book ‘Soft City’ is a fascinating exploration of the relation between the imagined, personal, “soft city” and the physical built. In the city we can live deliberately: inventing and renewing ourselves, carving out journeys, creating private spaces. But in the city we are also afraid of being. Soft City [Jonathan Raban] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers . A tour de force (Jan Morris) from the winner of the national book critics circle.

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Soft City: A Documentary Exploration of Metropolitan Life

As such, it’s a hit an miss affair. Essentially a series of related essays, Raban eschews the statistics that a sociologist would rely on an Written in the early ‘s, The Soft City is a psychological look at the metropolis and its inhabitants, built around anecdote, impression and insight, almost exclusively based on London, with brief interludes into the America of Boston and New York.

In poor condition, suitable as a reading copy. In the city we can live deliberately: Ex-library with wear and barcode page may have been removed. Crease to back flap of dust jacket. Soft City Raban, Jonathan Hardback. Those born, and remaining, in a particular city and those arriving as tourists, are at a disadvantage. Soft City A non fiction book by Jonathan Raban.

But in the city we are also afraid of being alone, clinging to the structures of daily life to ward off the chaos around us. It records one man’s attempt to plot a course through the urban labyrinth, and holds up a revealing mirror to the modern city, finding it a stage for a demanding and expressive kind of personal drama.


This is a surprising page-turner from beginning to end, and a real classic in the literature of the city. Soft City Picador Classic Author s: Soft City Raban, Jonathan Picador.

Soft City: A Documentary Exploration of Metropolitan Life by Jonathan Raban

Written inthis ambitious study of the modern city in its psychological significance is still an exciting and illuminating read 40 years on, even though its mission – to capture the impact of the overwhelming diversity of the city-experience on the individual ‘citizen’ – must have been as impossible to achieve in a cify text then as it clearly is today. While limited by the concreteness of the When and Where, the contrast between the accounts of Islington and Earl’s Court is nevertheless intriguing: At times this leads to a faintly novelistic approach, even an overt one, such as the slightly unpleasant chapter about an Eastern European girl’s fleeting visit to London.

No eBook available Amazon. In a very good dust jacket with minor staining to reverse not visible from the front.

Raban really does not like hippies Citj book was published in the s, and thus the language used is not always multiculturally or sexually sensitive by contemporary standards – just occasionally this stirred discomfort. Oct 17, David Ostra rated it it was amazing Shelves: Dan Hill rated it it was amazing Dec 08, But he also then talks about how a commitment against materialism and in favour of simple living is another faddish way to jontahan shallowly and goes on about the ugliness of the Hare Krishnas and digs on vegetarians and people who smoke “a joint of marijuana”.


I rated the book three stars not because it was dated, but for the dog-chasing-its-tail quality that comes on strong in the middle of the book. If the effort is ultimately doomed, then Raban is the right guide to follow on the attempt. This book has hardback covers. Dec 20, Jane rated it liked it. Things improve though, via an interesting look at the newcomer ‘Greenhorn’ to the city, and how it encourages us to make personas, become a character; like the fantasist Ronnie Kray projecting his elevated self-image as a ‘gangster’ onto the city, rather than appear as what he actually was, a slow-minded xity thug.

Published May 21st by Harvill Press first published January 1st There is a chapter on Boston, and many comments about New York. Lau Zhen khai rated jonatban liked it May 26, His novel, Waxwings, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and his most recent work of fiction, Surveillance, was published in to much acclaim. The reasons why people flock to cities, why some stay and why some leave are some of the many topics covered.

What makes Biblio different?

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