Sarah Lyall grew up in New York City and is now London correspondent for the New York Times. She lives there with her husband, the writer Robert McCrum, and their two daughters. Her first book was entitled The Anglo Files: A Field Guide to the British.
Lyall: Well, there aren’t any guns, so, they have knives… I think another thing about England, is really… in Britain in general, a very angry kind of place, and all that kind of the old sort of image of Brits as being really polite and sort of not bothered by things isn’t really true anymore. I think they’re, you know, it’s a small space. They live too many people in too little an area, and there’s a lot of frustration, and so it erupts, you know. There’s a lot of kind of road rage and other sorts of rage: computer rage, people’s throwing computers out the window ‘cause they don’t work. There’s a horrible thing recently where somebody was in line and they thought someone had not, you know, sort of bumped in from them in the line and they called their boyfriend, who came and beat up the guy, but they beat up the wrong guy and the guy they beat up died. He, you know, he, like, fell on the ground and hit his head and died. And so, I think, the knife thing is a kind of manifestation of the anger, you know. It’s kind of quick, quick crime. And I think there’s a lot of, you know, inner city violence these days, and if people [aren’t] themselves that’s what going to happen, you know?