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Tales of Mean Streets
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Tales of Mean Streets

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  45 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
These stories are a brilliant evocatin of a narrow, close-knit community—that of the streets of London's East End in the 1890s. Having lived and worked there, he knew that his East Enders were not a race apart, but ordinary men and women, scraping by perhaps, but neither criminals nor paupers. He chronicled their adventures and misadventures, their wooings and their funera ...more
Paperback, 166 pages
Published August 30th 2005 by Chicago Review Press (first published 1894)
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Nov 17, 2014 Andrea rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: london
The title describes the contents -- the meanness not only of city and streets but also of characters and the poverty that confines them. These, I think, are stories written by a man who escaped such poverty and looks back on it only with relief that he managed to get out, and perhaps with a fear of falling back that erases generosity. There is none of the lurid and titillating violence and detail of Thomas Burke, nor yet any of the humour, pride and everyday mutual support seen in W. Pett Ridge. ...more
I came across the works of Morrison while I was doing background reading for my job interview. He wrote "realistic" novels and short stories about poor people in the East End. When I started to read I realised this was "Eastenders" for the late Victorians. One big soap opera about people who had less money and were more criminal and immoral than you were. He be-friended a vicar in the area who believed that the poorest were irredeemable and should be put in single sex concentration camps and be ...more
Apr 14, 2014 Lizixer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although Morrison's characters live and die around the East End of the late Victorian period, many of these people's lives and problems are still recognisable and being experienced by poor people in today's Britain.

These are not stories of an idealised working class but people whose grinding poverty and lack of prospects result in hopeless, disappointed lives. Be it the young woman who drifts into an abusive relationship with a violent man, the young starving man trying to get a break by boxing
Apr 21, 2008 Frederick marked it as to-read
Shelves: morrison-arthur
I found a Modern Library edition of this with an introduction by H. L. Mencken. I'd never heard of Arthur Morrison. I've read a few pages. The focus is on London's East End. It was written in the 1890's and is pretty stark. Orwell certainly would have been aware of this author. If Mencken's introduction (written in 1920 or so) is any indication, this book was as well-known in 1894 as ANGELA's ASHES is today. The first few pages describe rows and rows of houses looking more like prisons than home ...more
Sep 10, 2012 Francis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of stories from the mean streets of London's East End. Many of the stories reminded me of O'Henry. Although Morrison paints a more vivid picture of despair and this is especially true in the first story. But he also writes stories with humor and warmth as well.

A short but excellent collection of stories.
Jul 06, 2015 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gritty, unsentimental writing.
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Arthur George Morrison (1863-1945) was an English author and journalist, known for his realistic novels about London's East End and for his detective stories. In 1890, he left his job as a clerk at the People's Palace and joined the editorial staff of the Evening Globe newspaper. The following year, he published a story titled "A Street", which was subsequently published in book form in Tales of M ...more
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