Released on 19 October 2017.

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Soft City

Picador Classic

3.71 based on 110 ratings & 9 reviews on


With an introduction by Iain Sinclair

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, Jonathan Raban, 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.

In the media

An absorbing book
Soft City is a must
Time Out (2008)
His metropolis is not the rational, order-imposed "hard" city perceived by the logical mind of town planner or traffic engineer, cartographer or demographer. It is the more elusive but no less real city that oozes out from between the grid lines, smudges and smears the statistics with something messy, irrelevant but impossible to ignore