Pigeon English is the story of Harri, a Ghanian boy who has recently moved to London with his mother and older sister Lydia. They have left behind his father, grandmother and baby sister Agnes as they couldn’t afford the plane tickets in one go. They live in a flat in a neglected tower block in inner city London and the book opens with the stabbing of a local boy. People being ‘chooked’ is part of normal life and they play ‘suicide bomber’ in the playground. Kelman was inspired by the murder of Damilola Taylor and the parrallels are clear throughout. This is a wonderful and important novel. Harri is an endlessly appealing narrator and Kelman skilfully weaves him into a cruel and harsh environment to create a novel that is both uplifting and crushing.
You can read the full review of this wonderful book on my blog: http://acaseforbooks.blogspot.com/2011/09/review-41-pigeon-english-by-stephen.html