By Colin MacInnes
London, 1957. Victoria Station is awash with boat trains discharging hopeful black immigrants right into a chilly and alien motherland. Liberal England is set to find the legacy of Empire.
And while Montgomery Pew, assistant welfare officer within the Colonial division, meets Johnny Fortune, lately arrived from Lagos, the assembly of minds and races takes a shocking turn…
Colin MacInnes offers London again to the folks who create its intriguing sub-culture. Hilarious, anti-conventional, blisteringly sincere and completely dedicated to adolescence and energy, City of Spades is a different and encouraging tribute to a rustic close to switch.
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Extra info for City of Spades (London Novels, Book 1)
They’re coming. Don’t worry. ” Lefty sat down on the suitcase beside her. Their shoulders touched. Desdemona moved away. ” He looked at Desdemona, puzzled, but then his expression softened and he put his arm around her. She stiffened. ” He stood up again. ” “Don’t go,” Desdemona pleaded. “I’m sorry. ” But Lefty had stormed off. He left the quay and wandered the city streets, muttering to himself. He was angry with Desdemona for rebuffing him and he was angry at himself for being angry at her, because he knew she was right.
Not one mouth uttered a sound as the realization came home that their own country had deserted them, that Smyrna now had no government, that there was nothing between them and the advancing Turks. (And did I mention how in summer the streets of Smyrna were lined with baskets of rose petals? And how everyone in the city could speak French, Italian, Greek, Turkish, English, and Dutch? And did I tell you about the famous figs, brought in by camel caravan and dumped onto the ground, huge piles of pulpy fruit lying in the dirt, with dirty women steeping them in salt water and children squatting to defecate behind the clusters?
They watched his dealing more closely, mistaking his clumsiness for a cardsharp’s sleight of hand. ” But when nothing happened, he looked up and saw again how truly deserted the Casinwas, and the sight brought home to him the high stakes they were playing for. Life. ” They nearly killed him. Lefty’s pockets bulged with winnings, and the men insisted he couldn’t leave without giving them a chance to win some of it back. ” He sat down, scratching his other leg, and thereafter started losing again and again.