Many of the Londoners in this novel are outcasts - some are criminals in society's eyes. Most are descended from adventurers and immigrants. The worlds they inhabit - the bedsit; the cruisers' pub - lie cheek by jowl with the worlds of the affluent and successful - the smart restaurant, the House of Commons Committee room. Al, the narrator, is a Londoner born and bred, a writer living in a small room in West London. Most of the other residents in the cavernous Victorian house - and the friends and acquaintances. Al meets in tow local pubs, the bohemian and relaxed crowd at the Nevern and the slightly more ambiguous and dangerous crowd at the Knacker's - are Londoners by adoption, some temporary exiles, some permanent.
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Maureen Duffy (b. 1933 in Worthing, Sussex) is a notable contemporary British poet, playwright and novelist. She has also published a literary biography of Aphra Behn, and The Erotic World of Faerys book-length study of eroticism in faery fantasy literature.After a tough childhood, Duffy took her degree in English from King's College London. She went on to be a schoolteacher from 1956 to 1961, and edited three editions of a poetry magazine called the sixties. She then turned to writing full-time as a poet and playwright after being commissioned to produce a screenplay by Granada Television. Her first novel, written at the suggestion of a publisher,That's How It Was (1962), was published to great acclaim. Her first openly lesbian novel was The Microcosm (1966), set in the famous lesbian Gateways club in London.
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