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Without Seeming to Care at All

Rough Trade Editions, Sep 2019

Nearly everyone who works in the bar is trying to make it as an artist or something. We are trying to make it as dancers, writers, shoe makers and DJs, actors, tattooists, costume designers and developers. We do not care about the bar and yet we find we cannot help but care a little.

This is the story of how we became an odd family. In it you will also find lots of smaller stories, about rescuing a nest of swan eggs, pulling a corpse from the canal, and giving birth to half a watermelon.


Buy a copy from Rough Trade Books.

It is also available from The Word BookshopAbeBooks or Amazon.

Buy the ebook from Amazon, Kobo or Google Play

Praise for Without Seeming to Care at All

‘A well-realised, fresh and contemporary story with a great sense of place and energy.'

- Andrew Holgate, Literary Editor, The Sunday Times

‘A brilliantly realised portrait of the random, hedonistic, and sometimes purposeless endeavours of unattached people at a certain point in their lives, this a fascinating, funny and fresh snapshot of this particular lifestyle.’​

- Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award

'Funny and fuzzy, sad and honest, Max Sydney Smith beautifully captures the joys and horrors of working in a bar, the way a job that is supposed to be transitory slyly becomes your actual life.'

- Joe Dunthorne, author of Submarine

Without Seeming to Care at All captures a moment in time, the rhythm of the city and the ever-shifting tectonic plates that trace the boundaries between different communities sharing the same space but living in completely different ways. I love how he explores the collective identity that forms around a bar, and traces the impending loss of that identity as the hungry beast of neoliberalism arrives on the island with gentle clarity.’

- Octavia Bright, co-host of Literary Friction

‘Full of wit and tenderness, Max Sydney Smith’s ‘Without Seeming to Care at All’, captures beautifully the drifting, hedonistic, sometimes bizarre days and long nights of a London bar.  Bonded by the work that they would rather not be doing, the dreams and disappointments of the young and not so young staff of the bar gather together in a single narrative chorus - a small marvel of tone and voice.’

- Tom Lee, author of Greenfly and The Alarming Palsy of James Orr

‘An ethnography of a chosen family written with the finely distilled observations, humour and empathy of an insider.’

- Xanthi Barker, author of Will This House Last Forever

‘Bartleby moves to Hackney Wick and gets a job in a pub. A deadpan and accurate survey of London’s drunken wildlife.’

- Fernando Sdrigotti, author of Jolts

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