Well worth reading. Nov 24, Mark Glover rated it it was amazing. If you have ever walked through a pedestrian mall and had a look at the poor souls begging or sleeping rough at night and wondered how they got there then this is a book you should read. I personally think it is a book that everyone should read as it does what so few do, which is try to find answers for a question that seems beyond answering, the problem of homelessness. First of all though, and I feel it is important to state this, this is not a record of true homelessness but rather an immersiv If you have ever walked through a pedestrian mall and had a look at the poor souls begging or sleeping rough at night and wondered how they got there then this is a book you should read.
First of all though, and I feel it is important to state this, this is not a record of true homelessness but rather an immersive exercise in which the author undertakes to live on the streets whilst undertaking a journey between Cornwall and London over the span of a few months. Carroll makes no bones about this, acknowledging that he has the choice to return home at any time or pick up a phone and opt out, a choice that sadly most of those he meets don't have. While some have criticised this as a kind of socio-economic tourism, the manner in which Carroll carries out his journey and the way in which he engages with the people he meets and empathises with them offers a far broader scope than someone just slumming it on the streets for a few months and then offering up sweeping statements and reasoning.
Indeed if there is one thing that stands out about this book it is the way in which Carroll takes pains to point out the incredible complexity of the problems he encounters, as diverse as the people themselves and that there is simply no unilateral solution to this issue. His findings as with the problems themselves are hard to read and even understand in some instances.
One of the biggest revelations I found was that a lot of long term homeless choose to remain homeless, conditioned to a life on the streets despite the pitfalls and choosing to live a lifestyle of their own choosing rather than work with a system that is rigid in its ability to aid individuals.
Indeed reading this book opens your eyes to just how important it is to help individuals out before they hit the streets rather than taking a wait and see if it sorts itself out approach. The book is not a diatribe of bleakness and finger pointing solutions though and is as much a travel book as it is a social commentary something I felt helped with the flow of the story. Carroll invests time in describing each place he journeys to along the way, starting off with the relatively mild prospect of sleeping rough in Cornwall during the spring actually tougher than he first conceived to the frankly terrify prospect of sleeping rough in London.
Along the way he meets various exemplars of the homeless, from those living rough due to mental health, drug and alcohol issues to those forced onto the streets by grim circumstance. With each person he meets he takes the time to know them and to understand the reasons they are on the street sketching them in a true light rather than trying to push an agenda.
Each of these portraits are complex and sometimes disheartening, some of the people he meets are not imminently likeable or sympathetic in any light while others seemingly beg the question of why. As an exercise in journalistic investigation I can think of only one other book I have read which offered such a true insight into an issue, namely Alexander Masters, Stuart A Life Backwards.
Much like Masters book, Carroll doesn't try and overreach with his conclusions, rather allowing the reader to decide for themselves by offering up a true insight into the people he meets.
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- No Fixed Abode: A Journey Through Homelessness from Cornwall to London.
He also doesn't shy away from self criticism and expounding on his own prejudices and underlying fears, indeed a number of times he questions whether what he is doing has any intrinsic worth or whether it is just voyeurism. I think not, part of what makes this book so readable and successful in its aims is exactly these aspects of his writing. Had it been all confident solutions and sympathetic sketches of his journey it would have fallen flat. That he doubts his undertaking and offers a complex portrait of a very complex issue makes it seem all the more genuine to the reader.
While the book offers up few solutions itself, I feel it is a vital read for anyone who has ever encountered the homeless and questioned the reasoning and circumstance behind their homeless status. Certainly it will make you realise that empathy is perhaps the best thing we could offer as by engaging with the human being behind the huddled shell we may just offer a way back for some of them. Inspired by his hero George Orwell, Charlie Carroll decides to experience the lifestyle of a tramp, walking from his home in Cornwall to London.
He experiences the vulnerability, discomfort and sheer boredom of living on the streets. On the way, Charlie takes some time to talk to politicians, outreach workers and the homeless and other rough sleepers themselves, to assess the issues and obstacles facing the 21st century homeless. This is an easy read, and Charlie writes about some interesting exp Inspired by his hero George Orwell, Charlie Carroll decides to experience the lifestyle of a tramp, walking from his home in Cornwall to London.
This is an easy read, and Charlie writes about some interesting experiences that keep the reader involved in his journey. He is sympathetic but not sentimental about the homeless people he encounters, acknowledging that some of them can behave unpleasantly or even violently, and that adds depth to their stories.
PEAKS ON THE HORIZON by Charlie Carroll | Kirkus Reviews
He makes a genuine attempt to understand the issues around modern homelessness, and his approach is well-structured. The early chapters read like an alternative kind of travel writing, and these are the sections I enjoyed most. The later sections, when Charlie joins the Occupy London protesters, move away from this, and away from the premise of the Orwellian down and out into more political issues.
They raise important questions, but are much less entertaining, despite some lively characters appearing. Would recommend to anyone interested in one man's experiences of rough sleeping and in social and political issues in modern Britain. Apr 04, Carmen Thong rated it really liked it. Compellingly written and gives a very clear look into the various states of homelessness that Charlie experienced, whether in small towns or big cities, on the sleeping queue or camouflaged within Tent City.
Writes about homelessness without being sentimental or too information driven. He dabbles with interviews and the usual journalistic methods of understanding, but offers them up as fallible ways to understand what it is really like. Also very honest about his own advantages and his own comfo Compellingly written and gives a very clear look into the various states of homelessness that Charlie experienced, whether in small towns or big cities, on the sleeping queue or camouflaged within Tent City.
Also very honest about his own advantages and his own comforts without being too self-indulgent - none of the pages and pages of self-contemplation and philosophizing. He keeps the focus on the issue. Whizzed through it in a day and am more sympathetic towards the everyday banality of homelessness, and yet also more informed about the facilities available to them.
- Drawn to the abyss: literature's fascination with homelessness;
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- No Fixed Abode : A Journey Through Homelessness from Cornwall to London.
An interesting and enjoyable book in which Charlie Carroll walks from Cornwall to London, in order to experience life as a 'tramp'. I raced through it in a day. Although it doesn't quite work as a project, Carroll is at least entirely honest about its failings. Sep 08, Lorraine rated it really liked it.
Anthony Evans rated it it was amazing Aug 18, Fiona rated it liked it Apr 18, Cassie rated it it was amazing Jul 05, Gary rated it liked it Aug 01, Barkelby rated it it was ok Nov 24, Samantha rated it really liked it Jul 03, Evie rated it really liked it Jun 14, Robynne Peatfield rated it it was amazing Apr 02, Jonathan McCaughtry rated it really liked it Feb 11, Samantha Alexandet rated it liked it Aug 11, Chrissie rated it really liked it May 27, About Charlie Carroll.
Charlie Carroll. Books by Charlie Carroll. No trivia or quizzes yet. Welcome back. My eldest son used to play for a football team called the Gravesend Spartans and I was on the touchline most weekends cheering him on. There are more important things in life than playing with balls. Charlie spoke at the Homeless Link annual conference and is a great guy. My two Fender Telecasters guitars for the uninitiated. The book you always wanted to read but never got round to? Favourite TV show? Historically, those who have deliberately flung themselves downwards, as London might have put it, have tended to come from middle-class backgrounds and been almost exclusively male — a privileged position from which to explore the abyss, before rising again into comfort and security.
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