London Orbital, Paperback
4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


London Orbital is Iain Sinclair's voyage of discovery into the unloved outskirts of the city.

Encircling London like a noose, the M25 is a road to nowhere, but when Iain Sinclair sets out to walk this asphalt loop - keeping within the 'acoustic footprints' - he is determined to find out where the journey will lead him.

Stumbling upon converted asylums, industrial and retail parks, ring-fenced government institutions and lost villages, Sinclair discovers a Britain of the fringes, a landscape consumed by developers.

London Orbital charts this extraordinary trek and round trip of the soul, revealing the country as you've never seen it before. "My book of the year. Sentence for sentence, there is no more interesting writer at work in English". (John Lanchester, Daily Telegraph). "A magnum opus, my book of the year. I urge you to read it. In fact, if you're a Londoner and haven't read it by the end of next year, I suggest you leave". (Will Self, Evening Standard). "A journey into the heart of darkness and a fascinating snapshot of who we are, lit by Sinclair's vivid prose.

I'm sure it will be read fifty years from now". (J. G. Ballard, Observer). Iain Sinclair is the author of Downriver (winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Encore Award); Landor's Tower; White Chappell, Scarlet Tracings; Lights Out for the Territory; Lud Heat; Rodinsky's Room (with Rachel Lichtenstein); Radon Daughters; London Orbital, Dining on Stones, Hackney, that Rose-Red Empire, and Ghost Milk.

He is also the editor of London: City of Disappearances.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 592 pages, colour illustrations, bibliography, index
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Transport planning & policy
  • ISBN: 9780141014746



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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

First of all: the author is brilliant. The bon mots fly faster dust motes in a tornado; to fully apprec iate them, the reader needs a *very* strong grounding in (somewhat obscure aspects of) English history and culture. I didn't get into the groove of Sinclair's style until nearly the end of this 500-page opus. Don't give up, but I don't blame those who do. Getting through this book is a similar tyo finishing a mental marathon.P.S. I really, really could've used at least a simple map of his route

Review by

Iain Sinclair's extended anti-Millenium Dome ramble should certainly be recognised as an imaginative form of protest march. Disguised as a grumpy old man complaining about a younger generation's flawed vision of the future he sets forth to exorcise his temper by circling London in close proximity to its orbital belt of the M25 motorway.He hops from suburban asylum to industrial edgeland with equal enthusiasm. In close keeping with his adopted character he condemns the vast out of town shopping centres and the manufactured estates of new ticky-tacky houses. And in the end as a final self-sacrificing gesture he trecks from the fringe, through his beloved but bespoiled Hackney, to a riverside viewing point to cast his furious but becalmed eyes on the object of his anti-worship.