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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Harare North by Brian Chikwava


On the cover jacket:

'When he lands in London, our unnamed hero carries nothing but a cardboard suitcase full of memories and a longing to be reunited with his childhood friend, Shingi.

He ends up in Shingi's Brixton squat where the inhabitants function at various levels of desperation. Shingi struggles to find meaningful work and to meet the demands of his family back home, ; Tsitsi makes a living renting out her baby to women defrauding Social Services.

As our narrator struggles to make his way in 'Harare North', negotiating life outside the legal economy and battling with the weight of what he has left behind in strife-torn Zimbabwe, every expectation and preconception is turned on its head. This is the story of a stranger in a strange land - one of the thousands of illegal immigrants seeking a better life in England - with a past he is determined to hide.'

Praise for the book:

'It's the darkest of comedies, fuelled by an electric, wholly convincing voice' - Observer.

'A writer to watch. Brian Chikwava's language is lively and witty and it turns the London you know upside down' - Maggie Gee

'An hilarious and wrenching examination of immigrant life...from a prodigiously talented and uncompromising writer' Ali Smith

'Chikwava has created an utterly compelling anti-hero...mesmerising; Guardian

'A debut novel at once lyrical and gritty, offering an unsentimental view of the immigrant experience in London's Brixton'...Scotman

Debolina's verdict: 5/5

- Debolina Raja Gupta