Stations of the Soul | Pushing the Wave

Stations of the Soul

A novella from No Way Home
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Stations Of The Soul by LA Davenport
Come on an intimate journey into the dark heart of pre-millennium London as we follow an eclectic cast of characters from all walks of life, linked only by coincidence and crossed paths, who shine a kaleidoscope light onto this truly global city.

Meet awkward flatmates, pretentious designers, drunken bar flies, stiff executives, lazy office workers, struggling jewellery designers, ageing musicians and arguing couples; and fall into the twilight hours of the city as the ripples of drunken excess spread out until morning.
Stations of the Soul is a love letter to London and a breathtaking sweep across a day in the life of the city, from the collection No Way Home.


I was partially inspired to write Stations of the Soul by Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City.

In the first episode of season five, Anchors Away, she says:

“If Louis was right, and you only get one great love, New York may just be mine.”

This episode is, on the surface, about Fleet Week, when US Navy ships deployed in overseas operations dock in New York, among other cities, for a week, and the girls having their usual fun as a result. Underneath, however, it was the first episode to tacitly address 911 and the falling of the Twin Towers.

For me, it sparked an idea. I had at the time been living in London for six years and my on—off relationship with the city was settling into something more stable. I was beginning to develop my own understanding of the place and how different lives interconnected.

Less prosaically than Sex and the City, I had also been mulling the idea of writing about the life of a city ever since I finished reading Ulysses and Under Milk Wood and watched Vertov's Man with a Movie Camera. The more I started to think about it, the more I realised it had to be about London.

The first notes I made on the idea were in 2008, when I wrote that the story should “cover all parts of town I know, split into different times of the day with each section covering different areas. Starts with a man leaving a train.”

The idea was that the reader would follow a character until they crossed paths with the next one on the journey and then follow that one until the next one, etc. They would consequently be taken on a 24-hour journey across the city, from person to person and from place to place, each episode revealing a new pattern in the endlessly turning kaleidoscope that is London.

That was in 2008. I wrote eight of the 14 ‘stations’ in that year, and then nothing. I was too young, too immature, had too little understanding of life and the sheer expanse and depth of a place so great and historic as London to be able to write any more.

It was only when I left London, after 18 years living in almost as many flats and areas, that I started feeling capable of returning to Stations of the Soul. Leaving London was what made me realise how much I loved the city, and it was then that Carrie’s quote came back to me.

Tentatively at first and then in a great burst, I completed the 14 stations, electing to break down the structure and form of the story as day became night and the characters became swept up in drunken revelry.

The result is my love letter to London, in all its complicated glory. It is also a highly fictionalised personal history of a period in my life just before the end of the 20th century, when I was at a crossroads, hesitating between settling for what I knew and stepping out into the great unknown.

I think I made the right choice.

Cover Design

The cover for Stations of the Soul was designed by the brilliant David Löwe.

To find out how David approaches design in general, and the covers for No Way Home and Dear Lucifer and Other Stories in particular, I talked to him, asking him first of all how he comes up with his ideas.
© L.A. Davenport 2017-2024.

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Stations of the Soul | Pushing the Wave