If you have been following my social media you know that a couple weeks ago I posted an article on a Medium publication called “The Open Bookshelf”, and this article is my review of Common People. Still it’s a different since it’s more of an in depth and thought provoking reflection about my opinion on the book.
You can check it out, it’s called “Saudade, nostalgia and the beauty of connection“.
Still, I wanted to leave one of my usual reviews here on the blog, so enjoy this one as well.
“Common People“, an anthology edited by Kit de Waal, was published on May 2019 by Unbound.
Common People is a collection of essays, poems and pieces of personal memoir, bringing together sixteen well-known writers from working class backgrounds with an equal number of brand new as-yet-unpublished writers from all over the UK.
Too often, working class writers find that the hurdles they have to leap are higher and harder to cross than for writers from more affluent backgrounds. Common People will see writers who have made that leap reach back to give a helping hand to those coming up behind.
We read because we want to experience lives and emotions beyond our own, to learn, to see with others’ eyes – without new working class voices, without the vital reflection of real lives, or role models for working class readers and writers, literature will be poorer.
Working-class stories are not always tales of the underprivileged and dispossessed.
Common People is a collection of essays, poems and memoir written in celebration, not apology: these are narratives rich in barbed humor, reflecting the depth and texture of working-class life, the joy and sorrow, the solidarity and the differences, the everyday wisdom and poetry of the woman at the bus stop, the waiter, the hairdresser.
Here, Kit de Waal brings together thirty-three established and emerging writers who invite you to experience the world through their eyes, their voices loud and clear as they reclaim and redefine what it means to be working class.
Purchase Links: Amazon | Unbound | Kobo | Bertrand | Wook
“Common People: An Anthology of Working Class Writers” edited by Kit de Waal and written by several authors, is a collection of essays, poems and pieces of personal memoir.
Each author records, on the pages of the book, their opinions, experience and working class background. Each different from the others, but they all provoke our minds and emotions.
Being an anthology and bringing to light stories and poems loaded with emotions and opinions, I read this book in a measured way, reflecting each chapter and each passage.
Coming from a Working Class family, much of what was described I was able to relate to my life and the reports of my family members. This established a connection with the voices of the authors and their experiences, appealing to the memories of my past and a feeling of Saudade.
In Jodie Russian-Red’s story, The Funeral and the Wedding, I saw my family painted on the pages. It transported me to a past that is still alive in my heart and mind, and not faded by time.
These small moments, which connect us to what is told, are something I consider fundamental in a story. Empathy and connection with the narrators, with the experiences, and consequently, with ourselves.
For those who want to get out of their comfort zone and like Anthologies, I highly recommend this book. Despite being written about Britain, the voice of the working class travels across countries and continents.
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