Book choice for March 2012

Pigeon English [suggested by Ross Allatt]

front cover

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.

The book has its own website.
Wikipedia presently assumes you mean Pidgin English (the language).

About the Author

Author's Wikipedia page (very sparse).
Confusingly is owned by a Glaswegian graphic artist. There is a bio page on the book's website though (linked above)


Shortlisted for this month

Book selectors can bring one, two or three books for selection, although it's usual to bring three. This month Ross' other selections were:

The Road Home

The Road Home

In The Road Home, Tremain tells the story of Lev, an Eastern European migrant worker who has left his village and travelled to England so that he can finance a better life for his mother and daugther. He takes with him his grief for his dead wife. There is an almost fairytale-like quality to Lev's chance encounters and where they lead him, although, that said, they also feel natural and possible; Tremain has always been good on the essential randomness of experience.

Lev's London is awash with money, celebrity and complacency - an ugly picture of the way we live now - but there is nothing polemical about the book. The world Tremain creates feels real, and she allows her characters to negotiate it, and make their compromises with it, in a way that is both convincing and very poignant. There is also a rich vein of humour that runs through the book, much of which comes from the stories about and conversations with Lev's friend Rudi, who has stayed back in the village. [Graeme H writing on Amazon]

Wikipedia page.

About the Author

Wikipedia page.
(Many interviews and opinion pieces also available online)

Before I Go To Sleep

Before I Go To Sleep

The central character of this haunting first novel is Christine, a woman who wakes up each morning with her mind trapped years in the past, and no recent memories with which to make sense of her world. Each day she must be told that the man she is living with is her husband, and so much more about her life since her memories stopped, and each day, relive the heartbreaks and some of the happy moments as if they were happening anew. Gradually, with the help of a doctor, Christine manages to reconnect some of her past life using a journal to record what she knows about her life, and the writer cleverly puts the reader into the position of Christine, as she reads this journal and tries to make sense of the present in the context of her past. Our memories are an integral part of who we are, and the way we connect one day with the next. Without them, life is bleak, disconnected and confused. The writer really does convey the tragedy of amnesia very well, and on top of this has created a cleverly structured and menacing thriller. The pages turned quickly and easily and although the twist in the plot is perhaps relatively easy to guess it still feels shocking when it is revealed. [joc66 writing on Amazon]

Wikipedia page.
Facebook page.
Book page on author's website.

About the Author

Wikipedia page.
Author's website.


Previous Months' Book Choices

February 2012
January 2012
November 2011
October 2011
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