Welcome to the second Beehive Book Club! I hope you are all doing well and are in good health! The Beehive team sends you all our love <3 I do not know about you, but I have definitely been reading far more during Lockdown. As I read, I have found myself getting incredibly engrossed and invested in the stories and lives of those I am reading about, way more than usual. Isolation is certainly making me daydream more…
One way of escaping the present, is reading about the past and hearing those thrilling tales of distant times gone by. With this in mind, the next book we are going to look at is ‘The Lonely Londoners’ by Sam Selvon. In my opinion, this is a must read for anyone who lives in London. Sam Selvon, born in Trinidad, wrote this book in 1956, which focuses on the Caribbean migration to Britain in the post war period. Hearing news of opportunities in London, this story shows the lives of those who have taken the boat train over Waterloo Station to achieve a new life for themselves. Following the experienced and pessimistic Moses, we see how these new hopefuls react to the harsh reality of London in the fifties. By following the experiences of these fresh arrivals, this book is both funny and harrowing.
What I enjoyed most about this book is the perspective it gave me about the city I live in. Hearing a history that is sadly not told often enough. After reading this book, I feel like I know London far better. Quoting someone far more intelligent than me, Caryl Phillips said:
“If I were to point to a writer who captures the tone … and texture of London as the austere fifties … give way to the swinging sixties, I would not cite the plays of John Osborne or Arnold Wesker, or the prose of David Storey or John Braine. For acuity of vision, intellectual rigour and sheer beauty… it would have to be the works of Sam Selvon which would figure pre-eminently. He did not only know the Caribbean but the pages of London’s A to Z, and was able to capture these with a haunting lyricism which remains … imprinted on the imagination.”