station to station rough 4 FEB




Station to Station is perhaps best described as ‘psychogeography on wheels’, written both for those who travel every day and for the occasional wanderer. A reclaiming of that lost space between home and work: a dream time in which I wrote three previous books.

Here are some extracts from reviews:

‘A “window gazer” for our times … Station to Station is the chronicle of a railway journey like no other – part personal odyssey, part history, part architectural guide, part reflection on the nature of travel, part investigation of the national psyche. If it can be categorised at all, here is Paul Theroux crossed with Bradshaw and Betjeman, spiced with a twist of Alain de Botton. Attlee is an extraordinary truffler of facts … No railway junction imaginable could match Attlee’s dazzling range of imaginative connections.’ Michael Williams, Independent

‘Captivating … splendidly stimulating … Attlee is fascinated by the mystical way in which the past concertinas into the present … Station to Station is packed full of fascinating bits and pieces … a wonderfully wide frame of reference … All human life is here, one ghost interweaving with another.’ Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday

‘Murderers, politicians, sex parties and dogs: all life is evoked in a magical history of the Great Western Railway … “God’s Wonderful Railway”, they used to call the link Isambard Kingdom Brunel forged between London and Bristol, and in Attlee’s hands the Great Western Line is indeed full of wonders, prompting passages on everything from infrared technology to resurrection as painted by Stanley Spencer in Cookham … Station to Station is partly an exploration of places and buildings on or just off the line; partly a collection of stories about people who have been associated with it, whether as planners, navvies, staff or passengers; and partly a rumination on the nature of travel.’ Michael Kerr, Telegraph *****

‘James Attlee’s new book was a must-read for me. As he chugs along this iconic route, Attlee mines fascinating stories from the landscape, rattling off anecdotes about characters as diverse as Oscar Wilde, Diana Dors and T.E. Lawrence – tales that will keep me company on this journey forever more. As well as celebrating the golden age of rail travel, Attlee’s book offers an optimistic view of its role in the future. Most certainly not just for trainspotters.’

‘Engaging, with echoes in particular of Patrick Wright’s excavations of occult English histories, and of the subversive narratives of Patrick Keiller’s Robinson film travelogues…Take this distinctive book to read on the train and … untangle the stories along your own regular stretch of line’. Simon Bradley, Spectator

The book is currently reprinting but you can order the Kindle edition for just £4.99 by clicking here


Selected reviews for previous books: to learn more about my books, music and journalism visit

Reviews for ‘Isolarion’: ‘He had me purring from the word go … unique and very special’ Geoff Dyer, Guardian; ‘A vivid account of daily life, fluid and unsettling, in a modern British town with powerful allegorical reflections on the connections between past and present, time and space, and high culture and the hard scrabble world that sustains it’ Economist

Reviews for ‘Nocturne’: ‘Nocturne is an inspiration. It makes you want to pull a chair out into the garden and bathe in the moonlight’ New York Times; ‘Remarkably good writing … I know that I am going to keep this book by me for rereading, and it seems likely that other readers will want to do the same’ Diana Athill, Literary Review; ‘Vagrant, erudite, frequently comical. A stylist of amazing wit and skill. A compendious, moving and impassioned guide’ Brian Dillon, The Irish Times




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