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Soft City

3.72 based on 109 ratings & 9 reviews on

01 August 08


In the city we can live deliberately: inventing and renewing ourselves, carving out journeys, creating private spaces. But in the city we are also afraid of being alone, clinging to the structures of daily life to ward off the chaos around us.

How is it that the noisy, jostling, overwhelming metropolis leaves us at once so energized and so fragile? In Soft City, one of our most acclaimed novelists and travel writers seeks to find out. First published in the 1970s, his account is a compelling exploration of urban life: a classic in the literature of the city, more relevant to today’s overcrowded planet than ever.

'A psychological handbook for urban survival' Sunday Telegraph

In the media

A highly intelligent enquiry
New Statesman
The self that confronts the city is chameleon and caddis-worn, changing colour, aggrandizing objects and districts; and it tries on masks, a range of personae through which different styles and attitudes can speak . . . Often, Soft City is Walden in reverse; Raban goes to the city to find himself
Raban's is the picaresque novelists's eye
London Magazine