Paperback review: Spitalfields Life, By Gentle Author

London captured alive by a 21st-century Pepys

The Gentle Author lives in Spitalfields, east London, and blogs every day about her life there and the people she meets; and this marvellous collection represents a year-and-a-half's worth of blogging.

She talks to flower sellers, market traders, mechanics, curry chefs, drama teachers, photographers, thieves, jellied eel sellers, writers, tailors, publicans, rag dealers, dancers, a Maori princess and many, many more: each character glows with life, and the totality is a fascinating and multi-faceted portrait of this corner of London, which highlights both its continuities and its constant evolution. It's also copiously illustrated with evocative black-and-white photos. Memo to self: must go and spend a day in Spitalfields soon.