Many of the Londoners in this novel are outcasts - some are criminals in society's eyes. Most are descended from adventurers and immigrants. The worlds they inhabit - the bedsit; the cruisers' pub - lie cheek by jowl with the worlds of the affluent and successful - the smart restaurant, the House of Commons Committee room.
Al, the narrator, is a Londoner born and bred, a writer living in a small room in West London. Most of the other residents in the cavernous Victorian house - and the friends and acquaintances Al meets in tow local pubs, the bohemian and relaxed crowd at the Nevern and the slightly more ambiguous and dangerous crowd at the Knacker's - are Londoners by adoption, some temporary exiles, some permanent.
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