Shortlisted for the Whitbread prize, MOTHER LONDON is a dazzling journey through the heart of a city that the author loved. Spanning generations of characters across a variety of boroughs from the Blitz to the mid-eighties, this is a book about the real London that tourists will never find, a London which is being erased by the spread of high-rise flats and shining skyscrapers.
Following a group of released mental patients across the years and streets of London, Moorcock creates a vivid impressionistic portrait of the city, from its downtrodden pubs to its green parks. All of the lead characters hear voices - but are they the murmurings of their damaged minds, or the true voice of the city?
Vast, sprawling, eccentric, this masterful comic novel seems to encapsulate the history of postwar Britain in its dizzy decline. Its three main characterspatients (and later outpatients) at a psychiatric clinicare improbable yet believable. We meet dreamy Mary Gasalee, a recovered amnesiac widowed and psychically scarred in the London Blitz, and the two men she seduces: young David Mummery, writer of books on London's sewers, subways and ruins, who clings to his idealized memory of their romance; and Josef Kiss, one-time professional mind-reader and grandiloquent, roving Falstaffian actor. All three are ``wireless receivers,'' gifted with psychic or intuitive faculties they would rather not have. Hopping from 1940 to the present across London's patchwork of neighborhoods, Moorcock augments the touching, tawdry tales of these intertwined lives with an enormous cast of secondary characters. Down-and-out artists, petty thieves, anxious immigrants, trendy nouveaux-riches, government functionaries, mavericks and misfits populate this elegiac valentine, as varied and alive as London itself. It's a story about the myths people create in order to survive, and Moorcock brings to it the same inventiveness found in his science fantasy ( Dancers at the End of Time ) and historical allegory ( The Brothel in Rosenstrasse ).