ALEX WHEATLE BRIXTON ROCK PDF

And Johnson should know. Himself a prominent contemporary activist and protestor Linton Kwesi Johnson, along with Wheatle, is one of the few artists to have put the rioting into writing, and to have lived it. The novel takes us into a criminal underworld of violent and murderous masculinity. Thus, while Brenton is eventually reunited with his mother, he subsequently becomes attracted to her daughter Juliet his half-sister , before being slashed by his opposite number, Terry Flynn.

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And Johnson should know. Himself a prominent contemporary activist and protestor Linton Kwesi Johnson, along with Wheatle, is one of the few artists to have put the rioting into writing, and to have lived it. The novel takes us into a criminal underworld of violent and murderous masculinity. Thus, while Brenton is eventually reunited with his mother, he subsequently becomes attracted to her daughter Juliet his half-sister , before being slashed by his opposite number, Terry Flynn.

In the background, relations between the police and the local black community rapidly deteriorate. Four terraced houses away, Sofrano B were rocking the neighbourhood playing endless dub plates of Sugar Minott and Al Campbell. A little further on, the all-night West Indian food shop boasted a queue of raved-out ravers, hungering for a snack of bun and cheese or fried dumpling before heads butted their pillows. His alliterative phrases and rhythmical sentences, the occasional neologism and unconventional imagery heads butting pillows lift the book above the average X-Press publication the pioneering publisher of black British crime and pulp fiction in the early s : his writing is in this sense closer to the high end thrillers of Diran Adebeyo see My Once Upon a Time.

This is not to draw canonical lines between high and low black British fiction. Such partitioning is particularly perilous when dealing with an author who shifts so easily between popular and official genres and registers, between reggae and poetry: Wheatle himself is the co-author of Checkers in the X-Press series.

We are now in the midst of events surrounding the Brixton riots, and the novel centres upon Railton Road, the epicentre of the uprisings in The novel carries uncanny echoes of Brixton Rock with characters and events overlapping and informing one another. But there is also a sense of progression as we move from the fatricide black on black violence of the first novel where the hatred is directed inwards, to the explosive propulsion of violence outwards onto the streets of the city, as the riots with the police unfold.

The result is something rare in the long and rich history of postwar British fiction: one of the first if not the first sustained narratives of those momentous, traumatic and cathartic days of insurrection along Railton Road. In his next novel, The Seven Sisters , Wheatle moves away from what might have been an easy winning formula. Following their husbands from rural Jamaica to urban England, Jenny and Hortense Rodney find themselves on a journey of expectation which evokes the Windrush generation, and the pioneer West Indian settlers of the postwar years.

Told from the first-person perspective of Dennis Huggins, The Dirty South, returns to, and brings up to date, the historical narrative of Brixton from the first novels. Yeah, I live in Brixton, or Bricky as we call it. Conjuring, while abusing in the second person, a privileged white reader, Wheatle re-opens the tense and racialised dialogue between insiders and outsiders, the knowing and the ignorant, rich and poor, the stereotypical and the real, that runs through all his work to date.

Dr James Procter,

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Brixton Rock

But instead he is methodically considering the absence of black authors in broadsheet newspapers. So why did he make the switch to writing for young adult readers? Disillusionment, Wheatle says, bluntly. Not with writing itself, but with a lack of interest and support from the literary establishment. In preparation for meeting him, I could only find one previous newspaper interview.

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