New Novel Dirty South by Alex Wheatle
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 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’ parents are trying to look out for him; too many of his friends have no guidance other than that offered by their fellow shotters, or the black Muslims with conversion in mind.
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 never shies away from asking difficult questions.
• A devastating indictment of society’s failure to offer an alternative to ghetto culture
• The Dirty South sees straight into the minds of disaffected teenagers
• Wheatle gives inspirational talks at schools across south London
Praise for Alex Wheatle’s previous novels:
"Wheatle has a compelling prose style – equal parts Richard Price and Chester Himes – and the heady, dope-soaked, scarily aggressive atmosphere of south London is conveyed extremely well. Wheatle’s style and command of language and plot ensure he is a writer to watch" Observer
"Beautifully written, funny and full of insight" The Times
"A searing account of a young man’s attempt to do the right thing" The Voice