To get a sense of this story, think a modern Charles Dickens. The Corner is loaded up with memorable characters, all drawn from life, in an environment that is as much a character as any of them. For Dickens the place was London, here it is Baltimore. And, like Dickens, the authors have serialised and popularised their work, first in the television series The Corner and more recently The Wire.

David Simon was a journalist for the Baltimore Sun and Ed Burns a Baltimore police detective and public school teacher. The book is a work of non-fiction but the dialogue and characterisation is so good it's the equal of any novel.

The authors describe their methodology as "stand-around-and-watch journalism" and they did that long enough to earn a place on the corner (1992/93). The result is 'a year in the life of an inner-city neighbourhood,' told seasonally. Recommended most definitely, especially if you're a fan of The Wire.

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