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Heartland

by Anthony Cartwright

It's 2002 - the BNP rears its ugly head in an impoverished neighbourhood in Birmingham; England plays Argentina in the World Cup and Rob, failed professional footballer, is playing in the Sunday league against the team from the Mosque. I struggled at first with the complex multi-layered narrative and the Brummie dialect - but it's worth the effort, even if you don't like football, for the thoughtful insight into multicultural living in the 1980s.

Extract

No chance of em getting ten. That Luke Wilkinson runs em, doh he. He used to play for the district wi me when I was at school.
Iss interesting though, ay it. If yow was to draw, like.
Onny if somebody pays Castle Villa off. Rob laughed. I think we'll beat the Mosque easy, to be honest. Be nice to win summat, for a change. I doh even think there'll be any trouble. There's other stuff to worry abaht. Iss just a game o football.
Doh kid yerself, son. I think yower lads could turn nasty if yow lose, especially if the BNP lot am dahn theer stirring it up, which yer know they ull be.
We better win then.
They sat quietly for a while.
Have yer heared from Stacey at all, about Andre?
Her texted this morning to say he's bin discharged. He's back at um with her now.

Parallels

Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby
 

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