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- Narrated by: Elinor Coleman
- Length: 8 hrs and 38 mins
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An original and profound portrait of contemporary Britain told through the testimonies of its inhabitants.
Between October 2018 and March 2021, Will Ashon collected voices—people talking about their lives, needs, dreams, loves, hopes and fears—all of them with some connection to the British Isles. He used a range of methods including letters sent to random addresses, hitchhiking, referrals from strangers and so on. He conducted the interviews in person, on the phone, over the internet or asked people to record themselves. Interview techniques ranged from asking people to tell him a secret to choosing an arbitrary question from a list.
The resulting testimonies tell the collective story of what it feels like to be alive in a particular time and place—here and now. The Passengers is a book about how we give shape to our lives, find meaning in the chaos, acknowledge the fragility of our existence while alleviating this anxiety with moments of beauty, love, humour and solidarity.
"A spectacularly enjoyable and compelling reading experience...funny, moving, surprising and thought-provoking. It humanises literature in this toxic moment." (Max Porter)
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Could Be Unique
Will Ashton has gone out of his way not to be the author of this book. It is 180 very short chapters, each of which is the contribution of a different person, living in the UK during the Covid-19 lockdowns of 2020 & 2021 (I think). Therefore it’s disjointed, enigmatic & has the feel of a stream of consciousness. In tiny moments it’s shocking, banal, whimsical, horrifying, enlightening, inane, philosophical, humane & more. I enjoyed it. I think it would be nice to have more real events & things, & less of the internalising - but that’s probably a reflection of the lockdowns. Go on, give it a go. At the very least it’s been written in an interesting, maybe a unique way.