Outskirts by John Grindrod review – in praise of Britain’s in-between bits


This post is by Alexander Larman from Books | The Guardian


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The author of Concretopia turns his eye to those places that are neither town nor country in this well-researched bookAt a time when political parties seem to be eyeing up the green belt as a potential site for housing, John Grindrod’s salutary memoir-cum-meditation is a reminder that not everything can be viewed in simple black and white – or green and brown – terms. Grindrod grew up on “the last road in London”, the New Addington housing estate in Croydon, and retains a great, although not uncritical, affection for the 13% of England that is neither town nor country, but something else entirely. It would take the skills of a Betjeman to come up with a stirring ode to the green belt, and fine writer though he is, Grindrod is no Betjeman. Yet this well-researched and engaging book has other charms. It allows the reader to reconsider parts of ...