Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2011
Lying in front of Harrison Opuku is a body, the body of one of his classmates, a boy known for his crazy basketball skills, who seems to have been murdered for his dinner.
Armed with a pair of camouflage binoculars and detective techniques absorbed from television shows like CSI, Harri and his best friend, Dean, plot to bring the perpetrator to justice. They gather evidence - fingerprints lifted from windows with tape, a wallet stained with blood - and lay traps to flush out the murderer. But nothing can prepare them for what happens when a criminal feels you closing in on him.
Recently emigrated from Ghana with his sister and mother to London's enormous housing projects, Harri is pure curiosity and ebullience - obsessed with gummy candy, a friend to the pigeon who visits his balcony, quite possibly the fastest runner in his school, and clearly also fast on the trail of a murderer.
Told in Harri's infectious voice and multicultural slang, Pigeon English follows in the tradition of our great novels of friendship and adventure, as Harri finds wonder, mystery, and danger in his new, ever-expanding world.
©2011 Stephen Kelman (P)2011 Audible Inc
"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." (Erica Wagner, The Times)
"One of the hardest things in fiction is to write from a child's point of view - Kelman does it brilliantly." (Alex Clark, Guardian)
Adored this book. Perhaps even more as I'd not read any reviews, nor had heard of any of the hype surrounding this (which I found out about after).
My advice. Don't either. I loved the fact that I had no idea what this was about, or even where in the world this was. As the story unfolded it painted a very vivid picture of this boy's world that slowly I began to truly understand.
What brings this to life is the narration. Its superb, I could imagine, if you were to read just the printed book, you'd really not enjoy as much or be as immersed as I became.
Reminded me of Life of Pi, another favourite of mine, for reasons that I won't say here, but I think you'd understand having finished it.
Ultimately incredibly moving and a very rewarding listen.
To be honest I wasn’t a huge fan of this book. I didn’t like the childlike language (and while I appreciate it is a young adult book and a book about someone who is a non-native speaker I found it very off-putting). The pigeon annoyed me as well both as the idea for the use of language and also for the commentary/thoughts of the protagonist. Much more could have been made of it, especially relating to Harrisons uprooting from Ghana to the estates of London. There are some modern culture references that did make me smile, such as adding extra brands to a pair of trainers but again I just felt the whole story was lacking something and could have been in a lot more depth exploring changes views and perspectives.
The overall story of hunting a person who committed a knife crime could have been made more interesting but I simply felt that the book didn’t get into the psyche enough of the people who live in this type of environment. It didn’t explore enough of the ideas of what being a newly migrated immigrant in London is like and how the family cope for me
I wasn't sure what to expect but decided to give it a go and I wasn't disappointed. It's a very good listen, interesting, funny and moving. Very well narrated too. Highly recommended.
This book has stimulated my mind in so many ways. It's funny and heartbreaking at the same time, and as for the narrator, I really believed it was a 12 year old boy from Ghana!
I wanted to like this, but, you're ahead of me; it was just TOO worthy and a bit precious and very clever and.......I realised I was no longer interested and it had become, well, boring, actually. The setting, the language ( wonderful narrator !), the drip-feeding of background information was elegantly done, however the plot had been telegraphed in advance, I think, that is, because it left me most definitely unrivetted.
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