Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 12 Critic Reviews

unrated

Synopsis

Lying in front of Harrison Opoku is a body, the body of one of his classmates, a boy known for his crazy basketball skills, who seems to have been murdered for his dinner.

Armed with a pair of camouflage binoculars and detective techniques absorbed from television shows like CSI, Harri and his best friend, Dean, plot to bring the perpetrator to justice. They gather evidence—fingerprints lifted from windows with tape, a wallet stained with blood—and lay traps to flush out the murderer. But nothing can prepare them for what happens when a criminal feels you closing in on him.

Recently emigrated from Ghana with his sister and mother to London’s enormous housing projects, Harri is pure curiosity and ebullience—obsessed with gummy candy, a friend to the pigeon who visits his balcony, quite possibly the fastest runner in his school, and clearly also fast on the trail of a murderer. Told in Harri's infectious voice and multicultural slang, Pigeon English follows in the tradition of our great novels of friendship and adventure, as Harri finds wonder, mystery, and danger in his new, ever-expanding world.
 

About Stephen Kelman

See more books from this 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. *Waterstone's bookstore
 
Published July 19, 2011 by Mariner Books. 289 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Pigeon English

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

Kelman quickly gives the reader emotional identification with Harri, who is mischievous (he loves tormenting the huffy, whiny Lydia), a romantic goof (who hopes against hope that his blond schoolmate Poppy will acknowledge his existence), energetic (he’s locally renowned for his speed) and a verb...

Apr 05 2011 | Read Full Review of Pigeon English

The Guardian

See more reviews from this publication

The fact that he appears, during the narrative, to have acquired a guardian pigeon – in one of the novel's few false steps, the pigeon sporadically addresses the reader – does little to allay our fears.

Mar 19 2011 | Read Full Review of Pigeon English

The Guardian

See more reviews from this publication

The story of Stephen Kelman's debut novel Pigeon English is the unlikeliest of fairytales.

Mar 13 2011 | Read Full Review of Pigeon English

New York Journal of Books

See more reviews from this publication

“Pigeon English is a book that can be read by adults and should also probably be read by maturer children ages 10 and up—despite some of the adult themes involved. Doing this may put Mr. Kelman’s book in a class along with the works of Judy Blume—but there are lessons to be learned. Regardless, P...

Jul 19 2011 | Read Full Review of Pigeon English

New York Journal of Books

See more reviews from this publication

They start by looking for suspects at the young boy’s funeral because there’s a list of suspicious reactions that signal guilt, things like “ants in your pant, talking too fast...uncontrolled gas (farting a lot).” With their list of traits, a pair of binoculars, and a roll of clear tape, Harri an...

Jul 19 2011 | Read Full Review of Pigeon English

The Independent

Bloomsbury £7.99 Setting the patois among the pigeons Pigeon English is a reverse crossover novel – not a children's novel which turned out to be popular with adults with a taste for fantasy and nostalgia, but an adult novel which turned out to speak to kids too.

Nov 25 2012 | Read Full Review of Pigeon English

The Telegraph

Pigeon English will be read by millions who have never read a book review and in a year or so it will be a fixture on the school English syllabus.

Mar 07 2011 | Read Full Review of Pigeon English

The Bookbag

Harri loves pigeons and one pigeon in particular - this pigeon loves him right back and takes over the narrative for short and sometimes critical periods.

Sep 02 2011 | Read Full Review of Pigeon English

MostlyFiction Book Reviews

As was reported by the New York Times and other news outlets, it was the youth who were the primary looters and criminals in these riots—an effect brought about by a “combination of economic despair, racial tension and thuggery.” The riots, the paper reported, “reflect the alienation and resentme...

Sep 14 2011 | Read Full Review of Pigeon English

DNA

When he isn’t obsessing over whether he’s wearing the right kind of sneakers, he muses on the differences between his homeland and England, from the way barbers behave to the way traffic does.

Oct 16 2011 | Read Full Review of Pigeon English

The New Yorker

Subscribers can read the full version of this story by logging into our digital archive.

Sep 19 2011 | Read Full Review of Pigeon English

Time Out Chicago

Harri and his friend Dean decide they’re going to solve the murder, after Harri spies someone removing what looks like a knife from beneath the Opukus’ balcony.

Jul 20 2011 | Read Full Review of Pigeon English

Reader Rating for Pigeon English
65%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 77 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×