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Reviews for Pigeon English

Simultaneously accurate and fantastical, this boy’s love letter to the world made me laugh and tremble all the way through. Pigeon English is a triumph’
Emma Donoghue, author of Room

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: not only for its appealing tone, but for its courage and boldness’
Erica Wagner, The Times

Pigeon English is a powerful and impressive novel, set in a terrifying gang-controlled estate in London, where survival becomes the motivating force behind every action. And yet the book isn’t grim, because Harri is an intelligent child with irresistible charm. His exuberance and natural resilience transcend his desolate surroundings and offer the reader an unexpected hope and belief in the nobility of the human spirit. Kelman knows the world of boys – their language, their humour, their thoughts – and Harri’s voice is dazzlingly authentic. 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. I wasn’t sure if I would have the courage to read it, but I was won over within the first few pages. The experience has enriched my understanding of a culture that rarely touches my own’
Clare Morrall, author of Astonishing Splashes of Colour and The Man Who Disappeared

Pigeon English charms its way into some hard places…’
Adrian Turpin, Financial Times

Pigeon English is a superb evocation of a child’s inner world’
Joan Smith, The Times
‘I was completely engaged by Stephen Kelman’s Pigeon English, the story of Harrison, an 11-year-old Ghanaian boy who has come to live in London. One of the hardest things in fiction is to write from a child’s point of view – Kelman does it brilliantly.’
Alex Clark, Guardian

‘Stephen Kelman’s [first novel] has a powerful story, a pacy plot and engaging characters. It paints a vivid portrait with honesty, sympathy and wit... Brilliant.'
Lewis Jones, Daily Telegraph

‘Arresting … The joy here undeniably lies in Harri’s voice – a high-impact pile-up of slang, sexual awakening and newly minted observation.'
**** Claire Allfree, Metro
'Excitement over Pigeon English is no surprise … Pigeon English … does an admirable job of revealing the frightened teenage boys behind gang members’ tough façades’
Rachel Aspden, Observer