Forest Gate (Paperback)

By Peter Akinti

Free Press, 9781439172179, 210pp.

Publication Date: February 2, 2010

List Price: 15.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Description

A shattering, poetic and raw first novel set among young Somalian refugees in the slums of London -- beginning with a double suicide and ending with a rebirth.

In a community where poverty is kept close and passed from one generation to the next, two teenage boys, best friends, stand on top of twin tower blocks. Facing each other across the abyss of London's urban sprawl, they say their good-byes and jump. One dies. The other, alternating with the sister of the deceased, narrates this novel.

James gives us a window into the inner city -- his mom is a crack addict, his gang "brothers" force him to kill another black boy. Meina describes with feeling her family history in Somalia: after her parents are killed before her eyes, her village aunt sells her to six husbands -- before she is even a teenager. Desperate to rebuild their lives, James and Meina set out to find the place for which every child longs -- home.

Brutal and shockingly violent in places, rambunctious and lively in others and slyly, dryly witty in yet others, Meina and James's journey toward life through their past is ultimately a powerful story of redemptive love and the debut of an extraordinary literary talent.


Praise For Forest Gate

"This is tautly constructed, graphic, angry, powerful fiction." -- Catherine Taylor, The Guardian



"A modern-day Richard Wright." -- William Leith, The Observer (UK)



"Vivid and energizing.... Breathtakingly fresh.... [Its] authenticity comes from a dazzling, painterly quality of realization and from a playful dance with the morality tale." -- Nicola Field, Socialist Review



"An assured debut." -- Ian Thomson, Times Literary Supplement



"Akinti weaves a tale of discovery." -- Pride



"...shines an unflinching light on the disparity of race and class...with an activist spirit akin to Richard Wright...Akinti crafts vivid young characters struggling to define themselves amid the chaos of families and communities entrenches in crime. The grit is tempered with an unlikely love story, affirmin gthe power of the human spirit and signaling the arrival of a major new literary talent."- Chris Kompanek, Flavorpill



"...shines an unflinching light on the disparity of race and class...with an activist spirit akin to Richard Wright...Akinti crafts vivid young characters struggling to define themselves amid the chaos of families and communities entrenches in crime. The grit is tempered with an unlikely love story, affirmin gthe power of the human spirit and signaling the arrival of a major new literary talent."- Chris Kompanek, Flavorpill



"...shines an unflinching light on the disparity of race and class...with an activist spirit akin to Richard Wright...Akinti crafts vivid young characters struggling to define themselves amid the chaos of families and communities entrenches in crime. The grit is tempered with an unlikely love story, affirmin gthe power of the human spirit and signaling the arrival of a major new literary talent."- Chris Kompanek, Flavorpill


"...absorbing...poetic....Akinti['s] atempt to detail the contemporary black British experience is visceral and immediate....most engaging is the neighborhood itself..."Forest Gate" is hot with fury....The novel elegantly illustrates contemporary Britain's failure to assimilate its immigrants [...] Akinti has acquitted hismelf with substantial elan and transformed a grim place into a thing of beauty." - Simon Akam, The New York Times Book Review



Editors' Choice, The New York Times



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