Hot Stew (Hardback)Fiona Mozley (author)
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Almost Dickensian in style and scope, Mozley’s rumbustious second novel revolves around the inhabitants of a Soho brothel and their determination to thwart a ruthless property developer.
Did you know in Tudor times all the brothels were south of the river in Southwark and it was only much later that they moved up this way to Soho. Stews, they were called then.
Pungent, steamy, insatiable Soho; the only part of London that truly never sleeps. Tourists dawdling, chancers skulking, addicts shuffling, sex workers strutting, punters prowling, businessmen striding, the homeless and the lost. Down Wardour Street, ducking onto Dean Street, sweeping into L'Escargot, darting down quiet back alleyways, skirting dumpsters and drunks, emerging on to raucous main roads, fizzing with energy and riotous with life.
On a corner, sits a large townhouse, the same as all its neighbours. But this building hosts a teeming throng of rich and poor, full from the basement right up to the roof terrace. Precious and Tabitha call the top floors their home but it's under threat; its billionaire-owner Agatha wants to kick the women out to build expensive restaurants and luxury flats. Men like Robert, who visit the brothel, will have to go elsewhere. Those like Cheryl, who sleep in the basement, will have to find somewhere else to hide after dark. But the women won't go quietly. Soho is their turf and they are ready for a fight.
Publisher: John Murray Press
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 535 g
Dimensions: 238 x 164 x 34 mm
'A dazzling Dickensian tale ... In an age when so many novelists of Mozley's generation take refuge in the dystopian, she has reinvigorated large-scale social realism for our times' - The Guardian
'Ambitious, clever, brilliant and very funny ... If Elmet announced the arrival of a bright new voice in British literature, Hot Stew confirms Mozley as a writer of extraordinary empathic gifts' - The Observer
'A complex mosaic of urban life ... The Soho Mozley captures with such intensity is not a mere locality. It is a microcosm of swarming humanity. Change is, of course, a constant, but Mozley's Hot Stew arrives like a clarion call to take up arms not against change per se, but against the homogenisation that so slowly but steadily suppresses it' - The Times
'A rollicking tale of pimps and prostitutes, property and posterity' - Alex Preston, The Observer
'There's no evidence of difficult second-novel syndrome here ... At one level this rangily plotted romp is a pure nostalgia trip: a portrait of pre-pandemic Soho with all its unlikely cheek-by-jowl conjunctions and heady mixture of pleasure and sleaze. But it's also an exploration of exploitation and desire, privilege and prejudice' - The Daily Mail
'At its best, it recalls the kind of capacious, rollicking satires Britain produced in and around the Thatcher era - ambitious, scathing and damn good fun' - TLS
'A sprawling novel of London life packed with picaresque characters ... undeniably Dickensian in style, but its concerns couldn't be more contemporary ... This is a compelling snapshot of a city teeming with vitality' - Evening Standard
'Where the mystical, elemental qualities of Elmet earned it comparisons with Lawrence and Hardy, her second novel is a sprawling urban comedy more likely to recall Ben Jonson or Dickens ... fluent and witty ... she moves easily between mordant satire and warmly eccentric character comedy in this invigorating trumpet blast against London's increasing homogenisation' - The Daily Telegraph
'There are energy and ambition here, especially in the novel's bravura opening, which telescopes dizzyingly from the bare fields of the 16th century to the Soho of the glittering present by way of a hectic time lapse in which I could almost hear the bricks clinking into place' - The Literary Review
'Fiona Mozley's Elmet was a breakout title in 2017 and her follow-up Hot Stew should make even more waves ... Deftly exploring a very real clash of cultures, this is a funny and smart book' - Stylist
'The talented Mozley takes on gentrification, Soho and property in a rambunctious, rewarding read' - i
'Mozley has an incredible gift for writing place ... Hot Stew reads like a great night out in a city that never sleeps. Her characters have a Dickensian swagger. They are backstreet heroes and villains, trying not to be eaten alive by the city they both love and hate' - Jan Carson
'Fiona Mozley not only fulfills her promise but surpasses it. Her new stew is such a steaming, fuming mix of life, lust and London that in the end you feel like you've eaten all of Soho' - Hallgrimur Helgason, author of The Woman at 1000 Degrees
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“Some brilliant characters”
This book was sent to me digitally by Netgalley for review.
This was such a great read, it was almost like a patchwork quilt with pieces coming together to create a whole. The story is set in Soho and deals with... More
Although I found this book a little confusing to start it was worth sticking with. The opening few chapters left me feeling like I wasn’t quite clever enough to follow the stories of the different characters set out... More
“A love letter to Soho”
Hot Stew shows us the Soho that I love and miss, teeming with life and excitement. However, it also reveals the darker underbelly; the prostitutes, the vagrants, the illegal immigrant workers. This fast paced novel... More
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