The Dirty South

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Serpent's Tail, 2008 - Fiction - 214 pages
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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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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A young black man struggles to surmount British ghetto culture in this brilliant sixth novel from Wheatle (The Seven Sisters, 2003, etc.).At the outset, 23-year-old Dennis Huggins tells us he's in ... Read full review


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About the author (2008)

Alex Wheatle was born in 1963 to Jamaican parents living in London. He spent most of his childhood in a children's home, which he left at 14 to live in a hostel in Brixton. At 18, he was involved in the Brixton uprising and went to prison for 3 months. On his release, he continued to perform as a DJ and MC under the name Yardman Irie, moving in the early '90s on to the performance poetry circuit as The Brixton Bard. His second novel, East of Acre Lane, won the London New Writers Award (2000).

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