Imagined London: A Tour of the World's Greatest Fictional City (National Geographic Directions) (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Classic Quindlen... her fluid style and witty descriptions take us on a tour of London's literary highlights. She has an uncanny way of capturing the charms, quirks, oddities and routines of this great city. As with literature about London, there is always juxtaposition... Busy versus Calm, Old versus New, Elite versus Common, Hidden versus Public.

Quindlen writes, "One of the most exciting things about London is how it honors those who labor in the salt mine of words." Of course there is Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey, but it's her tour of little blue enamel plaques, which identify the places and buildings where some great literary enterprise has taken place that you want to take.

It's hard to believe that Quindlen only knew London 'at a distance and through words' until she was 40 when she made her first trip that wasn't through the pages in a novel. Her appreciation of London's people, places, writers and words isn't imagined it's real.


Anna Quindlen first visited London from a chair in her suburban Philadelphia home—in one of her beloved childhood mystery novels. She has been back to London countless times since, through the pages of books and in person, and now, in Imagined London, she takes her own readers on a tour of this greatest of literary cities.

While New York, Paris, and Dublin are also vividly portrayed in fiction, it is London, Quindlen argues, that has always been the star, both because of the primacy of English literature and the specificity of city descriptions. She bases her view of the city on her own detailed literary map, tracking the footsteps of her favorite characters: the places where Evelyn Waugh's bright young things danced until dawn, or where Lydia Bennett eloped with the dastardly Wickham.

In Imagined London, Quindlen walks through the city, moving within blocks from the great books of the 19th century to the detective novels of the 20th to the new modernist tradition of the 21st. With wit and charm, Imagined London gives this splendid city its full due in the landscape of the literary imagination.

Praise for Imagined London:

"Shows just how much a reading experience can enrich a physical journey." —New York Times Book Review

"An elegant new work of nonfiction... People will be inspired by this book." —Ann Curry, Today

"An affectionate, richly allusive tribute to the city." —Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Anna Quindlen is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of books such as One True Thing, Miller’s Valley, and Imagined London: A Tour of the World’s Greatest Fictional City. She is also a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who has worked at The New York Times and Newsweek. To learn more, visit

Product Details
ISBN: 9780792242079
ISBN-10: 0792242076
Publisher: National Geographic
Publication Date: January 17th, 2006
Pages: 176
Language: English
Series: National Geographic Directions
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