Review ↠ Forest Gate 102


Forest Gate

Characters Forest Gate

Akinti's raw and riveting debut novel begins with Ashvin an angry teenage Somali refugee and his best friend James on opposite rooftops in the slums of East London preparing to hang themselves in a suicide pact Ashvin leaps unable to bear the reality of his own life his activist parents murdered in Somalia; his brutal rape at the hands of Ethiopian sol One morning during her early morning class young Meina is unexpectedly removed and brought to speak with two policemen who inform her that her brother Ashvin is dead Ashvin and his best friend James had recently put a suicide pact into motion both boys hanging themselves from two opposite tower roofs It is only Ashvin who succeeds in ending his life leaving James behind full of feelings of guilt and irreparable despair When Meina discovers that the two boys acted in conjunction she seeks James out to discover Ashvin's motives The two soon find themselves in a tentative relationship their sadness giving way to love But James and Meina have outside conflicts that threaten their new peace James is the youngest brother of five and all of his siblings are drug runners and arms dealers and his mother is addicted to crack Meina has escaped the war in Somalia after the brutal murder of her parents and is now at the mercy of a benefactor whose motives may not be pure As Meina and James struggle to cope with the violence and casual cruelties of their London tenement existence they begin to discover that life's unexpected reversals have led to than their new relationship and they must find a way to leave their oppressive and stale environment behind to move on to a fruitful future In this raw and haunting debut author Peter Akinti spins a tale of two lives caught in the midst of a terrible violence and the shattered dreams it inflicts upon its innocent bystandersIt is rare for me to come across a book like this This story is very gritty and filled with the frustration and sadness of people inhabiting a dim and violence charged world Akinti doesn't flinch at all in his tale and the anger and frustration burst off the page and burn into the reader's psyche like fire There are no missteps in this tale no fumbling in emotion or intention and often when I was reading I was caught up in extreme feelings of anger The disillusionment of the characters was palpable and it seemed that no matter what they did or said they were destined to be misunderstood and marginalized It was an extremely powerful book and one that made me reach into the deep recesses if my mind to formulate uestions that I had previously given little to no thought toThe book begin with the death and attempted suicide of the two boys and from there the action focuses on the dual and shifting narrative of James and Meina Both the main characters have reasons to be broken and despondent; both are filled with indignation at their circumstances But there is not only the anger of their shared suffering on the page there is also a sense of their fleeting dreams and unrealized potential and the desperate wrestling of their hope for the future As the narrative winds on I came to realize that these two would have to go to extraordinary lengths to find even a modicum of happiness for themselves To pull out of this desperate tailspin they would have to be given the chance to start anew when everything and everyone was holding them back Their situation was indeed grim and the answers to their problems involved their traveling down paths filled with pain and recrimination There were no easy answers for these two and it was a long uphill struggle for both of themThe book was filled with a scathing sense of social commentary uestions about identity self worth and the age old repercussions of violence were deftly intertwined into the narrative with both Meina and James acting as mouthpieces to these shared conflicts James speaks elegantly and at length about the stereotyping of black males and the ways that people try to defy these stereotypes in themselves and their community only to find that they are beginning to embody everything that they are fighting against Meina speaks about the extreme liberties that have been taken of her body and mind the confusion of war and the loss of self respect and self value Together they have a lot to say and it is within these messages that the book seeks to be the fulcrum of change These messages are often biting and brutal the lessons they impart hard won I thought that there was a strange beauty in these messages The dark meanderings of Akinti's soul took on a life and force that resonated in me profoundly and struck me deeply The fear that was etched into these characters was palpable and their expression of it not only sincere but frighteningAnother thing I liked about this book was the earnestness of the dialogue Though most of it was caustic it had a uniue ability to also be reflective and to feel humble There were small snippets of dialogue that startled with their implications and penetration and I felt that Akinti definitely succeeded in making his characters' voices believable and authentic in a way that not many books of this caliber do The uestions that the characters asked of each other and themselves were not only searching of themselves but of the wider community surrounding themAt the end of the book Akinti also provides an essay reflecting his early years in London This essay reveals that his life was plagued by many of the uestions that his characters faced and I saw a startling similarity between Akinti and his character James I thought that the essay was a brilliant companion to the story as it really struck the roots of the societal damage that is inflicted on living breathing human beingsThough this book was very dark it excelled in getting its messages across and driving home the realities of violence subjugation and racism It was one hell of a powerhouse in terms of plot character and in the driving home of its messages and I highly recommend it as a read that crosses genres It is certainly a book that will make you think and though the majority of the plot is mired in sadness there does come a point where things begin to move towards the realm of hope and possibility Akiniti is a brilliant author and I hope to read of his work when it becomes available to me Don't pass this book up Though it is far from gentle it has the ability to change you in some very powerful ways

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E the family business but he can't imagine a way out When James jumps but survives Meina seeks James out and they try to find shelter in one another Akinti himself a product of London's council estates public housing captures in gracious and resonant prose the fear anger and sadness of life in the violent and poverty stricken slums of London's East End Forest Gate is Peter Akita's debut novel I hadn't ever heard of him before until I came across his absolute gem of a debut in the library yesterdayI'm going to start off by saying its been a hell of a long time since I've felt the way I feel about this fantastic book Sure I've read mostly good books lately but this is not just a good book The word good does not do it justice by half I almost loved it as much as I loved an earlier book of the year by anothet author 'Shantaram'So what's it about What kinda book is it It's really hard to categorise this into any particularly genre so for me I've classed it as that mostly all encompassing genre of contemp lit but begrudgingly as even that doesn't even wholly fit correctlyA bit about the plot So the book starts off with the death of a black kid who died after committing suicide following a suicide pact made with his best friend James also blackThat's all I'm gonna give you other than the book explores the reasons for the guys deciding to end their lives James doesn't die and he and the protaganists sister strike up a relationship of sorts where everything is out in the open The book explores black history racism and gang culture All fascinatibg stuffIt's not an easy or happy read but its a thought provoking and well written one I already love this author and plan on buying his next oneFor the record I picked this up on a whim' not my usual book at all but absolutely loved it All characters fully developed Amazing

Peter Akinti î 2 Review

Diers; the constant harassment by London police and his schoolmates; the endless battles he will face as a black man in England He leaves behind Meina the beloved older sister he had always tried to protect James a lonely studious teen the baby of the drug dealing Morrison clan whose brothers are dehumanized violent criminals desperately wants to escap one of my book culbs are reading this book this kind of book is new to me so to me it was a lil slow i almost stop reading it im happy i read it because it was a good book hrad to read at time with the rape and things like that over all a good book

  • Paperback
  • 224
  • Forest Gate
  • Peter Akinti
  • English
  • 25 December 2017
  • 9781439172179

About the Author: Peter Akinti

Peter Akinti was a seventies child born of Nigerian ancestry in London He read Law at a London University He has written for the Guardian and worked for four years at HM Treasury Chambers before founding and editing Untold Magazine for five years Untold was the first independent British magazine for black men and had a wealth of gifted contributors from all over the diaspora Peter spent eig


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