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Pigeon English Hardcover – July 19, 2011
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Intrusion: A Novel
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"Ingenious . . . Pigeon English packs a wallop." -- Cleveland Plain Dealer
"The mystery is secondary to the pleasures of listening to Harri as he prattles on winningly in a mix of street slang and Ghanaian expressions." —Christian Science Monitor "Pigeon English is a fascinating look at a culture pushed to the margins by a nation’s economic and empathic indifference." —Time Out Chicago "A startlingly assured piece of work . . .With a very light touch, Kelman makes us view from a new perspective the kind of story we’re used to reading about in the newspapers . . . Kelman is a writer to watch." —Mystery Scene "The humour, the resilience, the sheer ebullience of its narrator—a hero for our times—should ensure the book becomes, deservedly, a classic." —Mail on Sunday (UK) "Pigeon English is a book to fall in love with: a funny book, a true book, a shattering book . . . If you loved Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time or Emma Donoghue’s Man Booker–shortlisted Room, you’ll love this book too." —The Times (UK) "Fantastic . . . it seems hard to believe this is the author’s first book." —Guardian (UK) "Like Harper Lee’s Scout Finch and Miriam Toews’ Thebes Troutman, Stephen Kelman’s Harri is an original who seems to breathe real oxygen" —Winnipeg Free Press (Canada) "Rich with lingo, energy, and occasional terror, Pigeon English is a stark and funny look at life in London’s rough housing projects. A compelling anatomy of our inner cities, Stephen Kelman’s debut novel navigates the hectic, modern world while coping with its most violent accompaniments." —Tony D’Souza, author of Whiteman and Mule "Utterly convincing and deeply moving, this is a book that we should all read if we want to understand the ugly world that we have somehow managed to create on the edges of society." —Clare Morrall, author of the Booker-shortlisted Astonishing Splashes of Colour and The Man Who Disappeared
Top Customer Reviews
Not to point fingers, but this is everything that `Little Bee' should have been.
Stephen Kelman's debut novel certainly has wet my appetite for more to come, considering that `Pigeon English' had me glued from page one and kept me completely enthralled until the poignant and stunningly tragic conclusion. I cannot wait for him to deliver something of equal ferocity in the form of a sophomore novel. He is one that I am anxious to see what else he has in store; for he certainly has the talent to deliver.
`Pigeon English' tells the story of Harri, a young and naïve boy who is searching for some normalcy in his new environment. Coming to London in hopes of a better life, Harri is in a family divided as he awaits the arrival of his youngest sister and his father from their native Ghana. Harri tries to acquaint himself with his new life, but everything is so different, and when a young boy winds up murdered, Harri finds himself living out a real life horror show. Taking it upon himself to solve the murder, Harri pushes buttons and makes astute observations that betray his innocence and threaten his very life.
But this is all about Kelman, and his ability to create something so fresh with a prose ripe with clichéd opportunities. Instead of succumbing to a predictable thriller-type plot, Kelman makes the focal point of his novel Harri himself.Read more ›
Personally, while I tend to prefer plot-driven fiction, I can live with minimal or no plot if there is something to connect with. And in this book, 11-year-old Harrison (aka "Harri") Opoku is such a lovable, naive, child that I couldn't help but connect with his irrepressible spirit. Like Harri, moved from Africa to an alien first-world country at around age 10-11, and found it to be a similarly bewildering and hostile place. Others may find Harri to be too precious or unbelievably innocent, but I fell for him hook, line, and sinker. And to be fair, the book is not entirely plotless, there is a murder mystery to propel things, along with a minor romantic subplot.
I tend to really like writing that has a distinctive sound, from the thick Scots of Irvine Welsh's work to the Edwardian slang of P.G. Wodehouse to the Nadsat Anthony Burgess concocted for A Clockwork Orange.Read more ›
The novel opens with the stabbing death of a schoolboy on a sidewalk near Harri's flat. Harri does not know the boy well, as he is older and goes to another school, but he and his friends vow to find out who murdered him. Inspired by the American television show CSI, the boys use their fledging detective skills to spy on potential suspects and gather fingerprints and other specimens from the crime scene. Harri is generally well liked by his classmates, as he is a fast runner and a good fighter, and he eagerly participates in typical boyhood pranks and games. His home life is a bit dull, as his older sister finds him to be a bother, and he befriends a pigeon who serves as a companion, confidant, and guardian angel.
As the story progresses, the identity of the boy's killer is obvious to the reader, but not to Harri, whose investigation intensifies as he gathers more clues and puts himself in danger.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not every award-winning book is worthy of the accolades. This is one of thrmPublished 5 months ago by Printemps28
Kelman is pitch-perfect in getting the voice of a young boy. And that voice - hilarious, innocent, wise - evokes his entire world.Published 10 months ago by Janjeremy
Enjoyable read.Having lived in Africa I enjoyed the book.Published 12 months ago by Amazon Customer
Beautifully written! You are drawn into the character's lives. Once the book is finished you find yourself often revisiting it in your thoughts. Read morePublished 24 months ago by CTK
This is a book you have to be patient with at first then you get into it and it's intriguing. Gives an insight to a world of the innocent child in a very volatile tough... Read morePublished on June 19, 2014 by angela hogan
Very entertaining novel, almost a classic in many respects, but watered down and ultimately ruined (at least for me) by the religious mumbo-jumbo that is insidiously woven into the... Read morePublished on August 15, 2013 by Donald E. Gilliland
A first-person, jaunty and cheeky novel about a young, immigrant boy caught in a tough world in England. Read morePublished on July 25, 2013 by Arthur Dobrin
Harrison, the main character, a young boy who has recently moved to England from Ghana is utterly adorable and has a unique perspective on things. Read morePublished on April 17, 2013 by Laura Besley
This is a solid book. Well crafted. It does not aspire to some sweeping epic tale, and that is fine. Read morePublished on March 12, 2013 by Nancy Robinett