City Lights: A Street Life
By Keith Waterhouse
Why this book?
Waterhouse was famous as a journalist, dramatist, and novelist. But this memoir of growing up in Leeds from the 1930s-50s brings the place and time completely alive. He didn’t have a privileged upbringing, by any means, and Waterhouse captures the day-to-day of poor areas and estates, and well as the magic of the city centre. The novel Billy Liar brought him fame, and while the location was unnamed, it was the Leeds he’d known, right down to the funeral home where he worked after leaving school. Waterhouse innately understood Leeds and its people, and they jump off the page – even if he leaves at the end (something Billy Liar could never bring himself to do). Read this and you’ll carry a magnificent picture of the city in your head.
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