Literature / Reviews

Quick Review: Pigeon English

cool pigeon-englishI’ve just finished the book Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman (a shortlisted nominee for the 2011 Man Booker Prize), under recommendations from my dearest mother, and I have to say it was great. The story is told by Harrison, boy on the cusp of puberty from an immigrant Ghanaian family who’s just moved to a rough London estate. Challenging issues of gun and knife crime, sex, friendship, fitting in and growing up from the perspective of a boy in year 7 makes for an extremely interesting read. Observing the world through Harri’s eyes creates a naive and refreshing outlook on the grim realities of working class London. We follow Harri as he discovers the rules of the game in his new home and decides whose side he ought to join, overcoming terrifying moral dilemmas which are both hilarious to read and deeply touching.

As I think it says on the blurb of the book, if you liked Room (Emma Donoghue) or The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime (Mark Haddon) then you are likely to enjoy this, as the child-like narration is just as compelling and endearing, if not more.


2 thoughts on “Quick Review: Pigeon English

  1. I bought this book ages ago but haven’t read it yet. I used to go to used bookshops and stock up for rainy days, then I ended up leaving London for half a year and this book was one that I shipped to New York… and it’s still there, so I still haven’t read it…I’ll have to grab it next time I’m there. You make it sound like it’s worth a read and I did like Room!

    • Yes definitely worth a read. Room was one of the best books I’ve read in a really long time and this is written in a similar childlike way. It’s really well done. Enjoy when you get round to reading it!

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