Margaret Cruickshank's Reviews > Pigeon English

Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman
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's review
May 27, 2012

it was amazing
Read in May, 2012 — I own a copy

For was brief time while reading this book, I didn't think I could finish it. Only because for a bit in the middle it felt somewhat repetitive and somewhat bleak.

However, that didn't last, and I must tell you I fell in love with the boy at the center of the story. I loved his innocence and his daydreams. I adored the imagination that derived from it. I was amused and charmed by his way of expressing himself, which is a mixture of Ghanian and rough inner-city English. Harri is an 11-12 year old who has recently moved from Ghana to inner-city England, and we see life through his eyes.

The book opens at the scene of a dead boy whose murder Harri and his friend decide to solve. The story is woven not only through Harri's experiences but also through his sister's friend, his mother and his mother's sister and her boyfriend. There are lives hardened as a result of failure, disappointment, abuse, but Harrison saw beauty and revelled in it and found joy in the small things of his life. And finally, throughout the story is his pigeon.

Stephen Kelman has written an extraordinary book short listed for the Man Booker prize.
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