I know those road names intimately,
Tottenham Court and Charing Cross,
The Pret a Manger on the corner
Where I used to buy coffee
And vegan cheese sandwiches
And then you write about the station
At Mornington Crescent or Camden Town
As a little frisson on excitement
Struggles down my spine, I know this place
It once was home, and love is there
Even in the pages of your book.
I’m reading a thriller that is set in Oxford at the moment. As I went and did a little treasure hunt around Oxford a couple of weeks ago the landscape of the place is still pretty fresh in my mind. This means that whenever the author speaks about certain landmarks I can picture them so clearly in my mind that I feel like I can almost touch them.
I have had similar experiences when reading books that are set in London. I lived there when I was eighteen and I can still picture a lot of the places.
On my weekends off I used to buy a £2 day ticket for the bus and I would just go exploring. I would sometimes jump on a bus with no idea where it was going and if we passed a museum or building that interested me, I’d press the button and jump off.
I haven’t experienced that kind of freedom at any other time in my adult life and I remember it fondly. So I really do enjoy getting lost in the pages of books set in the familiar London streets. Or any other place I know IRL really.
3 thoughts on “when you know the scenery”
I know exactly what you mean, Rachel! When I’ve been to a place, a book set there just seems so – is real the word? – to me, because I know the area the author’s describing. I get drawn into the story because I can figuratively follow the author around. It’s a great feeling! I’ve been to London a few times, but I don’t know it at all as well as you do. I can imagine, though, that that draw of the familiar is appealing to you.
It is such a strange feeling. But it makes the book feel like home, in a way.
Yes! One of the great names of U.S. literature was born in the same area as me, and many of his works are set in that region. I’ve always felt like I had a connection when reading his books that made him more interesting than a lot of the books I had to read in school. And I’ve often said that he’s my favorite literary author, even though we probably wouldn’t have had the same views on things had we lived in the same period. He writes about places familiar to me, and a lot of his descriptions of life in that region in his era are still applicable today.