Back in October, I discovered the book Kiss the Sky by DC Gallin. I zipped through the book in just a couple of days, breaking my long hiatus with reading. Set in 1990s London, the book tells the story of a handful of artists and bohemians trying to live out their twenty-something dreams in London.
London is a place close to my heart. I studied there briefly during college and fell in love with the music and clubbing scene there. Eventually, it’s probably what led me to Berlin, because as so many people will tell you: Berlin is the new “it” place. Yes, even still. Sure, maybe it was already the capital of artistic expression, creative bohemia and pure, unadulterated fun.
Gallin’s book is a throwback to the era when London was the “it” place. When artists could freely live in a city so full of life and culture that anything felt possible. When there were squats and all-night, drug-fueled parties. Sure, London is still spectacular, and it’s still got a lot of of what made it so special in the 90s, but today it just doesn’t compare to Berlin.
Maybe that’s why I enjoyed the book so much, though. It put the London I always wanted to love so fresh in my mind. In Kiss the Sky, the protagonist, Claudia, is a painter—a woman who’s certainly had her fair share of unfortunate life events, but is making do in a city that’s as distracting as any other. She paints, she parties, she dances naked on rooftops. If that doesn’t describe half the population of Berlin today, I don’t know what does!
The book is full of witticisms like “hippy is the closest word to happy”, has a healthy dose of sex and drugs and even has characters that you actually care about. The book features plenty of travel including one French bohemian artist, Paloma, who jets off to India on a whim (for a boy, of course), only to come back describing India as a place “so alive and so sad at the same time.” An accurate description of one of my favorite countries.
Ultimately, what I loved most about Kiss the Sky was the picture it painted of a city I used to love. I’ve always loved London, and still do today, but I just don’t think it has that specialness that it used to have. But while reading Gallin’s book, I felt I was getting a first-person account of what London was really and truly like in the 90s. After interviewing the author, I’m certain that the London she writes about exists today in the form of Berlin.
If you can’t yet time travel back to when London was cool, I definitely recommend reading this book. The story provides a fleeting glance of what London was like for the artists and squatters who made London a center of creativity and originality in art, design, music and culture for nearly a decade. At just $2.99 (for a limited time), you can’t find any better way to escape into a true bohemian story. It costs less than a beer! You can read more reviews and buy a printed copy over on the book’s Amazon page. Get it while it’s still on sale!
Win a Kindle Paperwhite!
In partnership with the author of Kiss the Sky, we’re giving away a $120 Amazon gift card — enough to cover the cost of a brand new Kindle Paperwhite. Please note the Kindle Paperwhite isn’t yet available in all countries, but you’re welcome to use it toward a different Kindle edition if you win.
This contest is now expired. Congrats to Jade from Camberley, England on winning the giveaway!
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