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The Dirty South

by Alex Wheatle

You might guess a novel of Brixton, drugs and crime would be a recital of gang violence and race politics. Yes, the life-on-the-street background is there, but from the start you are inside Dennis's head. It's his awareness of loving relationships that others are deprived of, his romantic longing for true love, and his agonising over taking revenge for his friend Noel's death, that make him much more than a two-dimensional badman.

Extract

Noel smiled an ugly smile, like he was thinking of some old school, bitch torture that he had seen in some old Samurai film. 'I have a ride now', he said. 'A little Fiesta. Bought it at an auction for three hundred notes. And now I've got my ride, I'm going in for a little stakeout, to see if I can find that bitch who honey-trapped you. It would be good if you could come with me. You could identify any of the African brothers who jacked you. It was probably a Nigerian. I hate them motherfuckers with their scarred up faces and ugly mothers .... They're all over Peckham these days with their crater-legged women and mad-coloured clothes. And then we could deal with them in medieval style. There's something I've got, two piece of long shanks. And I will use them. But if you're going to go on like a pussy then I'll do this shit on my own. And I can remember what the bitch looks like. Man won't find her too buff by the time I'm done with her. And when I am done the phantom of the motherfucking opera will turn his back on her nigger honey-trapping ass.'

Parallels

Yardie by Victor Headley
Some Kind of Black by Diran Adebayo
 

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