You may be surprised to discover that I’ve co-authored a guidebook, particularly if you are one of those (splendid) readers demanding a new Yashim story instead. Well, have you seen his cookbook? Yashim Cooks Istanbul – ‘evocative, captivating and a treat to read – a book that breaks new ground in the field of cookery writing’ – reached the final three for best First Book at the Guild of Food Writers’ Awards last week (deservedly won by Pete Lawrence’s The Allotment Cookbook). So if you miss Yashim you can still reach him by taste…
As for A Pilgrim’s Guide to Sacred London, I suppose I sort of owed it, London-born, London bred; for now that I live in the deep country, and visit the capital when I can, I see its shape and genesis differently and with a country eye: searching for the little valley of the Fleet where it wound between the low hills on which the City of London stands – Cornhill and Ludgate Hill; or pursuing the track (Maiden Lane) that led round the convent garden from St Martin-in-the-Fields; or contemplating Thorney Island, all reeds and marsh, where once Watling Street forded the Thames and now the great Abbey at Westminster stands, the holiest in the land. Even the City churches – all forty seven of them in the book – provide exactly the kind of interest that you get from exploring country parish churches, each one different, all by Sir Christopher Wren, each one a sanctuary. Oddly, if you spend a day knocking about the churches of London, the noise of traffic and the press of crowds and the weight of Mammon begin to fall away. That is the spirit in which this book was written, and compiled.
It is available worldwide from Argonaut Books by clicking here.
The best justification for the book is probably to be found in this delightful review by Robert Leigh Pemberton, which appeared in last Saturday’s Telegraph. So here it is, in its entirety.