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Pigeon Englishby Stephen Kelman
Synopses & Reviews
Jonathan Safran Foer emerged as one of the most original writers of his generation with his best-selling debut novel, Everything Is Illuminated. Now, with humor, tenderness, and awe, he confronts the traumas of our recent history. What he discovers is solace in that most human quality, imagination.
Meet Oskar Schell, an inventor, Francophile, tambourine player, Shakespearean actor, jeweler, pacifist, correspondent with Stephen Hawking and Ringo Starr. He is nine years old. And he is on an urgent, secret search through the five boroughs of New York. His mission is to find the lock that fits a mysterious key belonging to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11.
An inspired innocent, Oskar is alternately endearing, exasperating, and hilarious as he careens from Central Park to Coney Island to Harlem on his search. Along the way he is always dreaming up inventions to keep those he loves safe from harm. What about a birdseed shirt to let you fly away? What if you could actually hear everyone's heartbeat? His goal is hopeful, but the past speaks a loud warning in stories of those who've lost loved ones before. As Oskar roams New York, he encounters a motley assortment of humanity who are all survivors in their own way. He befriends a 103-year-old war reporter, a tour guide who never leaves the Empire State Building, and lovers enraptured or scorned. Ultimately, Oskar ends his journey where it began, at his father's grave. But now he is accompanied by the silent stranger who has been renting the spare room of his grandmother's apartment. They are there to dig up his father's empty coffin.
This hilarious and heartwrenching novel follows eleven-year-old Harri Opuku, recently emigrated from Ghana to the rough housing projects of London, as he tries to navigate inner-city life. See what makes our good-hearted protagonist dope-fine, become acquainted with his bo-styles, and find yourself wanting this touching debut to last donkey hours.
"Intelligent, observant." —The New Yorker
"If your patrons liked Roddy Doyles Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha and if they rooted for Jamal Malik in Slumdog Millionaire, they will love Harri Opoku." —Library Journal, starred review
"In turns funny and tragic . . . Its message is universal." -Huffington Post
Advise yourself! Jump into Pigeon English and experience the jubilant, infectious voice of Harrison Opoku—a boy awed by the city, obsessed with gummy candy, a friend to everyone he meets. See why he is bo-styles. How being the fastest runner in Year 7 makes him dope-fine. And how crazy things get when Harri and his best friend launch their own investigation into the murder of a classmate and one of the Dell Farm Crews hutious criminals feels them closing in on him. Youll want this book to last donkey hours, and youll see why Harri is truly a “hero for our times.”*
"Like Room . . . and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time . . . Pigeon English is a novel for adults told in the remarkable voice of a child. In this fine company, Kelman's novel stands out." —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"Since Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, there have been certain rules observed when children play detective. Stephen Kelman throws them all out." —Christian Science Monitor
"Intelligent, observant." —The New Yorker "Since Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, there have been certain rules observed when children play detective. Stephen Kelman throws them all out . . . The mystery is secondary to the pleasures of listening to Harri." —Christian Science Monitor "Like Room… and Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time . . .Pigeon English is a novel for adults told in the remarkable voice of a child. All three virtuosic novels are worth reading if only to enjoy the spell those voices create. In this fine company, Kelman's novel stands out." —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"In turns funny and tragic. . . . Its message is universal." -Huffington Post
"If your patrons liked Roddy Doyles Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha and if they rooted for Jamal Malik in Slumdog Millionaire, they will love Harri Opuku." —Library Journal, starred review
About the Author
Stephen Kelman grew up in the housing projects of Luton, England. He has worked as a careworker, a warehouse operative, in marketing, and in local government administration. Pigeon English was shortlisted for the Man Booker and Desmond Elliot prizes and was named a “best first novel of 2011”* in his native England; it has been published in twenty countries.
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