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Car Park Life Reviews

Car Park Life by Gareth E. Rees

Car Park Life

A Portrait of Britain's Unexplored Urban Wilderness

Gareth E. Rees

3.33 out of 5

3 reviews

Category: Travel, Non-fiction
Imprint: Influx Press
Publisher: Influx Press
Publication date: 22 Oct 2019
ISBN: 9781910312353

Gareth E. Rees believes that the retail car park has as much mystery, magic and terror as any mountain, meadow or wood. He's out to prove it by walking the car parks of Britain, journeying across the country from Plymouth to Edinburgh, much to the horror of his family, friends - and, most of all - himself.

4 stars out of 5
11 Jan 2020

"an engaging blend of memoir, history and surreal imaginings"

For Rees, ‘magic, weirdness and terror run through every particle, every atom of the universe’, and overlooked, mundane places fuel his imagination. There’s affection here and an ever-present awareness of human absurdity. The supermarket car park is a foreign country: they do things differently there, and Rees brings it to life in an engaging blend of memoir, history and surreal imaginings: Tesco as heart of darkness — but with more laughs.


3 stars out of 5
Anna Aslanyan
29 Nov 2019

" After giving a reading for a paltry audience, the writer Gareth E. Rees drives to Herne Bay, parks near the local Morrisons and walks to the car park on the roof. This in itself is not unusual for Rees, who has a rule about always entering these sites on"

Rees wrings a lot out of his wry observations, but sometimes a little too much: when he bundles together Brexit, the US elections and the collapse of his marriage as the landmarks of 2016, the digression makes you long to be back in the car park. He is at his best when he reflects on how architecture and the natural world co-exist (despite all efforts, there remains a “creeping garden beneath us, seeking an opportunity to flourish in the cracks of things we build”), and on how human nature manifests itself in car parks, in crime, indecency, anti-social stunts and lonely wanderings. Petrolheads hold their rallies here; loiterers watch strangers having sex; drivers run amok; shoppers fight over the last discounted sofa. “Who is weirder?”, Rees asks: the people doing these things or him, writing about them?

3 stars out of 5
1 Oct 2019

"I rather suspect that beneath the dotty camouflage, Rees is a writer of deep seriousness and political commitment with an urgent message"

Perhaps, ultimately, the joke is on me. That this is a funny, perceptive, deeply relevant parable and I am a cretin beyond reach is indeed perfectly feasible. But I rather suspect that beneath the dotty camouflage, Rees is a writer of deep seriousness and political commitment with an urgent message. And if so, he really ought to be marketed as such.