Adrift in Soho, Paperback
4 out of 5 (1 rating)




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My first introduction to Colin Wilson was through reading his autobiography Dreaming To Some Purpose which I recommend. A wonderful journey from his early literary fame, achieved with limited formal education, and as one of England's so called "angry young men", through to a prolific writing career that embraced all manner of disparate subjects including UFOs, serial killers, literature, sex, psychology, the occult and so on.Adrift in Soho is set in late 1950s London, and is beautifully written, very easy to read, and contains a wonderful array of charming characters most of whom want to retain a sense of personal freedom by avoiding the tyranny and grind of daily work. Early bohemians, the lot of them, and writing the guide to alternative living years before Swinging London popularised a similar lifestyle. It works both as a simple story of a young person's arrival from Nottingham to an unfamiliar London; and more broadly, as a search for meaning aligned to an attempt to transcend the day-to-day tedium of the wage-slave. There is loads of late 1950s London period detail, and it is very well written. Part of the magic of Colin Wilson's style is that he weaves philosophy into the fabric of the narrative, in a way that remains both provocative and accessible. I recommend this to anyone interested in youth culture; London, and specifically Soho; bohemians; philosophy; and post-war English literature.

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