The Dirty South
It's a generation on from Wheatle's East of Acre Lane, and the soundtrack has changed from reggae to hip hop, but the career options open to young black males are still brutally limited. Set in Brixton, 20 years after the race riots, The Dirty South follows the adventures of Bricky teenager Dennis Huggins as he drifts into the easy, dangerous life of the shotter - or drug dealer - and discovers that hard as the struggle for respect on the streets is, the struggle for love is harder still. At least Dennis has involved parents looking out for him; too many of his friends have no guidance other than that offered by their fellow shotters, or the dubiously motivated black Muslims. Wheatle brilliantly evokes the temptations of the thug life for young black men growing up in London's Dirty South - a fast, compelling novel that offers no easy answers, but refuses to shy away from asking the difficult questions.
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