According to the publisher, ‘This is London explodes fossilized myths and offers a fresh, exciting portrait of what it’s like to live, work, fall in love, raise children, grow old and die in London now’ (see more at: http://www.picador.com/books/this-is-london#sthash.ja63s8zF.dpuf). A Dutch translation of the book, entitled Dit is Londen, was published in January 2017.
In an article in The Big Issue (Feb. 16, 2016), author Ben Judah writes:
‘To my surprise, a hidden spirituality burst out. I never expected my quest for the city to reveal to me the immigrant mega-city’s prayers. Nigerian Peckham took me to a sacred seer, Russian Mayfair took me to its kabbalist, Pakistani Leyton told me of the love and secrets with which the faithful wash the dead.
At night London murmurs, a city of prayer. It is no longer haunted by Jack the Ripper but by the curses of Roma beggars and the amulets worn by Ghanaian witchdoctors. I found faith everywhere. The London of Karl Marx and empty pews is gone. Instead, a city of countless Nigerian street-preachers, Somali basement mosques and overflowing Polish churches. But the chapels of the other London are not like ours. London’s gods now live in converted bingo-halls and backrooms.’
The introduction of my new book contains the following passage: ‘To the extent that I had a particular location in mind while writing this book, it was New York City. At just a one-hour train ride away from Princeton, the “greatest city on earth” occasionally formed a welcome and highly inspirational escape from the sometimes rather too peaceful and quiet Princeton campus during the year in which I worked there. Obviously, New York City has its own fair share of problems and there is no reason to idealise life in the city, or in the United States for that matter, whatsoever. Still, to my mind, there is no better test case for social pluralist theory than this diverse place.’ The same goes for London.
This is the third post in a new series introducing my forthcoming book on Constitutionalism, Democracy and Religious Freedom. To be Fully Human (Routledge, 2017).
For the first two posts, please see: