Turf by John' 'Lucas

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A powerful and unsettling novel, Turf's biggest success is its protagonist, a character as misunderstood, complex and terrifying as the world he must flee.
-Guardian

Synopsis

Jay is fifteen years old and a member of the Blake Street Boyz gang. With a knife in his pocket and his best friend Milk by his side, he spends his time fiercely defending their turf. He takes his lessons from the streets and thinks he knows everything about choices. Choose the right gang, and they will protect you. Choose the right clothes, the right chat, the right snacks and you will be respected. But now he's coming of age and he's being given the chance to step up. He must stab and kill a member of a rival gang... and there are no choices left. This is a story set against the backdrop of London's inner-city tower blocks, where killing can be easier than choosing a chocolate bar; where gang violence rules, and where loyalty can cost you your soul.
 

About John' 'Lucas

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John Lucas was born in Whitechapel, east London, in 1978. He was brought up nearby in the borough of Hackney, and continues to live in the area. The youngest of six boys, he comes from a large family of writers and artists, although he did not immediately follow the same path. After leaving school he worked as a runner in a TV post-production company in Soho, and in between periods of travel and studying, spent his twenties working in the industry. He took a degree in Creative Writing at Middlesex University, graduating in 2007. After graduation, John went back to working in post-production, but left the industry two years ago to try and concentrate on his writing, supporting himself by working in an independent Hackney book shop, and as a personal assistant. In Turf, John drew upon his own experiences of growing up in Hackney, and on the numerous stories of young gang violence in the press. He is currently working on his second novel.
 
Published January 1, 2012 by Bodley Head. 368 pages
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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Anna Trench on Aug 11 2012

A powerful and unsettling novel, Turf's biggest success is its protagonist, a character as misunderstood, complex and terrifying as the world he must flee.

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