Iconicon: A Journey Around the Landmark Buildings of Contemporary Britain Nice Work The Life and Loves of a She Devil City of the Mind
Millennium People The London Eye Mystery Beyond Black The City & The City
Capital Perfidious Albion Iconicon: A Journey Around the Landmark Buildings of Contemporary Britain Nice Work
The Life and Loves of a She Devil City of the Mind Millennium People The London Eye Mystery

Storey Time: 10 novels about British buildings since the 80s

By John Grindrod

Storey Time: 10 novels about British buildings since the 80s

By John Grindrod

In Iconicon I've written the story of the curious things we've built in Britain since the 80s – from business parks to Wimpey estates, the Millennium Dome to eco-houses. As well as all my travels and interviews with architects and residents I was inspired so much by looking back at music, film, TV and most of all fiction, and this list shows a few of the books that helped me along the way.

Nice Work

Nice Work

David Lodge

£9.99 £9.49

This superb 80s satire of class and education takes many a swipe at the pretensions of Barratt-style estates, and after reading it you will never think of the term 'en suite' in the same way again.

The Life and Loves of a She Devil

The Life and Loves of a She Devil

Fay Weldon

£9.99 £9.49

The ultimate novel of 1980s aspirations sees Ruth free herself from domestic drudgery in her perfect new build home, reinventing herself to take the place of the woman who has stolen her husband.

City of the Mind

City of the Mind

Penelope Lively

£15.99 £15.19

An atmospheric, psychogeographic novel of Docklands. Lively not only follows its rebuilding but also the ghosts of its past, as an architect grapples with the currents of history as his new tower rises.

Millennium People

Millennium People

J. G. Ballard

£10.99 £10.44

No-one dissected the privileged prisons of gated communities like Ballard, and in this novel the rich in their high-tech homes go berserk on a crime spree through turn of the millennium London.

The London Eye Mystery

The London Eye Mystery

Siobhan Dowd

£7.99 £7.59

This beloved children's book is a glorious romp centering on one of the capital's millennium landmarks, and in the process brings the kids' adventure story into the 21st century.

Beyond Black

Beyond Black

Hilary Mantel

£10.99 £10.44

Perhaps her greatest novel, containing among many astonishing things a magnificent satire of new build estates and the thwarted aspirations of their owners hoping to start again without baggage.

The City & The City

The City & The City

China Mieville

£9.99

Blade Runner-style neo noir – no novel encapsulates the physical divide of rich and poor/old and new neighbourhoods of cities and the strange cultural denialism that comes with them quite as well as Miéville does here.

Capital

Capital

John Lanchester

£10.99 £10.44

Taking the transformations on a posh street in Clapham as its basis, Capital is a Dickensian novel that collides the ambitions of big money property programme-style doer-uppers with some sobering morality.

Perfidious Albion

Perfidious Albion

Sam Byers

£10.99 £10.44

Featuring shady private developers building a new estate beside an even shadier steel and glass social media tech hub, this is a brilliant Black Mirror-style dark satire of Brexit-era Britain.

Rumours of a Hurricane by Tim Lott - currently unavailable via Bookshop.org

This epic state of the 80s novel set in the new town of Milton Keynes – my new home – uses the story of a marriage as a vivid metaphor for the Thatcher years.

We use cookies and similar methods to recognize visitors and remember their preferences. We also use them to help detect unauthorized access or activity that violate our terms of service, as well as to analyze site traffic and performance for our own site improvement efforts. To learn more about these methods, including how to disable them view our Cookie Policy.