A boat that does not touch water but looks down on the Thames from a great height. A boat designed to remain forever anchored in a famous work of literature. A boat temporarily moored on the roof of the Queen Elizabeth Concert Hall. What is it?
It's Le Roi des Belges, from Joseph Conrad's The Heart of Darkness, AKA A Room for London. I was among a few of Teju Cole's friends privileged to visit the Boat last week during his short residency in this eccentric and beautifully crafted fantasy vessel with a panoramic view of London at its most dazzling. At the above link you can listen to Teju's illuminating podcast recorded on the boat.
A wonderful time-lapse video of how the Room/Boat was built is here .
The London Review of Books bookshop near the British Museum was host to Teju Cole's reading from Open City, his acclaimed prizewinning novel, and the queue for his signature was long and animated.