Helen’s second non-fiction book – Adrift: A Secret Life of London’s Waterways – was published by Icon Books in spring 2016.
It explores the people, politics, history and wildlife of London’s canals and rivers, journeying by boat from east to west over the course of a year and taking in the River Lea, Lee Navigation, Limehouse Cut, Regent’s Canal and Grand Union. Blending nature writing, social observation and memoir, Adrift is an intimate and unusual portrait of London, and of life.
The Bookseller says Adrift is: ‘perfect for anyone who enjoys a lazy walk along London’s canals. Babbs is an excellent nature writer, evoking the lives and emotions tied to the water.’
The Times Literary Supplement says: ‘Adrift is an engaging introduction to living on a narrow boat, held together with atmospheric descriptions of reconnecting with life’s simple pleasures.’
Homes & Gardens magazine says Adrift is: ‘a compelling exploration of river living’.
Waterways World magazine says: ‘It’s not just the quality of the writing that singles this out as one of the best waterways books for decades, but its timeliness too.’
Caught by the River praises: ‘chapter after chapter of utterly captivating prose’.
Hackney Citzen says Adrift is: ‘poetic, informative and thoroughly researched’.
Towpath Talk magazine says: ‘What makes this an intensely readable book is Babbs’ disarming honesty, weighing the highs and lows of a life afloat. The simplicity of the everyday is made magnificent under the microscope of her warm and open prose.’
@TheBookBarge says: ‘waterways writing at its finest: the breathtaking, boat-eulogising Adrift.’
SLOWBOAT says: ‘Adrift is a sensitive and thoughtful polemic, and a clear-sighted eulogy to a nomadic way of life.’
The London Review of Books Bookshop picked Adrift as one of its highlights.
Available now in hardback, paperback, and as an ebook in all good bookshops, in the real world and online.