Matt's Reviews > Pigeon English

Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman
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's review
Jan 29, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction
Read from March 30 to April 05, 2012

Pigeon English is a first novel that follows all the rules of contemporary first novels that mean to see publication: 1) a strong first line and opening gambit -- "You could see the blood." and a boy is murdered -- 2) a strong, distinctive narrative voice; 3) a high concept element -- the pigeon the boy talks to seems to work for God; 4) a plot twist almost at the very end of the book (I won't spoil it for you.). And I enjoyed all this except the ending seemed like a cop out; it was too easy of a way to end the story, and for the last 30 pages or so, it was exactly how I expected the story to end. The story covers a lot of ground, and was an enjoyable read nonetheless. The narrative voice was interesting, and even though it was highly repetitive, it never became irritating, and the plot that ties together the hundreds of thoughts and little episodes that make up this boy's daily life was an exciting murder mystery, through which the reader experiences some tension building dramatic irony, as we know what's going on but the main character naively misses. It's a good book, trying some interesting storytelling methods out with notable skill, though while not really breaking current convention.

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