LONGLISTED FOR RSL ONDAATJE PRIZE 2021
'Terrific... Britain's urban landscape is just as freighted with myth and mystery as its castles and ancient monuments and [Rees] proves it by unearthing a treasure trove of riveting stories.' - Sunday Times, Best Books of the Year, 2020
There is a Britain that exists outside of the official histories and guidebooks - places that lie on the margins, left behind. A Britain in the cracks of the urban facade where unexpected life can flourish. Welcome to UNOFFICIAL BRITAIN.
This is a land of industrial estates, factories and electricity pylons, of motorways and ring roads, of hospitals and housing estates, of roundabouts and flyovers.
Places where modern life speeds past but where people and stories nevertheless collect. Places where human dramas play out: stories of love, violence, fear, boredom and artistic expression. Places of ghost sightings, first kisses, experiments with drugs, refuges for the homeless, hangouts for the outcasts.
Struck by the power of these stories and experiences, Gareth E. Rees set out to explore these spaces and the essential part they have played in the history and geography of our isles. Though mundane and neglected, they can be as powerfully influential in our lives, and imaginations, as any picture postcard tourist destination.
'Unexpected and fascinating' - Melissa Harrison, author of The Stubborn Light of Things
'The mythical and the municipal collide in a weirdly compelling tour of Britain's built environment.' - Financial Times