Pigeon English

Pigeon English

Book rating: 05 Paperback

By (author) Stephen Kelman

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  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • Format: Paperback | 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 192mm x 20mm | 200g
  • Publication date: 1 May 2012
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1408815680
  • ISBN 13: 9781408815687
  • Sales rank: 24,865

Product description

Eleven-year-old Harrison Opoku, the second best runner in Year 7, races through his new life in England with his personalised trainers - the Adidas stripes drawn on with marker pen - blissfully unaware of the very real threat around him. Newly-arrived from Ghana with his mother and older sister Lydia, Harri absorbs the many strange elements of city life, from the bewildering array of Haribo sweets, to the frightening, fascinating gang of older boys from his school. But his life is changed forever when one of his friends is murdered. As the victim's nearly new football boots hang in tribute on railings behind fluorescent tape and a police appeal draws only silence, Harri decides to act, unwittingly endangering the fragile web his mother has spun around her family to keep them safe.

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Author information

Stephen Kelman was born in Luton in 1976. After finishing his degree he worked variously as a warehouse operative, a careworker, and in marketing and local government administration. He decided to pursue his writing seriously in 2005, and has completed several feature screenplays since then. Pigeon English is his first novel; he is currently working on his second.

Customer reviews

By Kamalika Andrews 21 Feb 2012 5

I just really enjoyed reading this and took me to a time when I was a 10 yr old new migrnat kid 20 years ago with my sister and my parents living in a flat learning a new language and new way of life. Thank you Mr Kelman for taking me back...

Review quote

'Simultaneously accurate and fantastical, this boy's love letter to the world made me laugh and tremble all the way through. Pigeon English is a triumph' Emma Donoghue, author of Room 'Pigeon English is a book to fall in love with: a funny book, a true book, a shattering book' Erica Wagner, The Times 'Stephen Kelman's [first novel] has a powerful story, a pacy plot and engaging characters. It paints a vivid portrait with honesty, sympathy and wit, of a much neglected milieu, and it addresses urgent social questions. It is horrifying, tender and funny ... Brilliant' Daily Telegraph 'The humour, the resilience, the sheer ebullience of its narrator - a hero for our times - should ensure the book becomes, deservedly, a classic' Daily Mail

Back cover copy

"Intelligent, observant." --"The New Yorker"" " "Since Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, there have been certain rules observed when children play detective. Stephen Kelman throws them all out . . .The mystery is secondary to the pleasures of listening to Harri." --"Christian Science Monitor" "Like "Room..." and Mark Haddon's "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time . . .Pigeon English" is a novel for adults told in the remarkable voice of a child. All three virtuosic novels are worth reading if only to enjoy the spell those voices create. In this fine company, Kelman's novel stands out." --"Milwaukee Journal Sentinel" "In turns funny and tragic. . . . Its message is universal." -"Huffington Post" "If your patrons liked Roddy Doyle's "Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha" and if they rooted for Jamal Malik in "Slumdog Millionaire," they will love Harri Opuku." --"Library Journal, "starred review

Flap copy

Advise yourself! It's time to jump into "Pigeon English" and experience the jubilant, infectious voice of Harrison Opuku. See why he is bo-styles. How being the fastest runner in Year 7 makes him dope-fine. And why, when a hutious criminal feels Harri closing in on him, it just feels crazy. You'll want this book to last donkey hours. Harri begins his story when he finds himself facing the body of one of his classmates, a boy known for his crazy basketball skills, a boy who seems to have been murdered for his dinner. The police have no leads, so Harri and his best friend launch into action. Armed with camouflage binoculars and detective techniques absorbed from television, they gather evidence -- fingerprints lifted from windows with sellotape, a wallet stained with blood -- and lay traps to flush out the murderer. Recently emigrated from Ghana to London and its enormous housing projects, Harri is awed by the city. Filled with curiosity and ebullience -- obsessed with gummy candy, a friend to everyone he meets (even the pigeon that visits his balcony) -- Harri is still tempted by the glamour and power of the gangs running his neighborhood. His world will be forever altered by the Dell Farm Crew. And your world will be forever altered by the discovery of the searing, endearing, and virtuosic writing of Stephen Kelman, who, in the great tradition of "Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha" and "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time," takes us deeply and fully into one boy's life.