Author: Brian Chikwava
When he lands in Harare North, our unnamed protagonist carries nothing but a cardboard suitcase full of
memories and an email address for his childhood friend, Shingi.Finessing his way through immigration,
he spends a few restless weeks as the very unwelcome guest in his cousin's home before tracking down
Shingi in a Brixton squat.
In this astonishing, revelatory original debut, Caine Prize winner Brian Chikwava tackles head-on the
realities of life as a refugee.This is the story of a stranger in a strange land -- one of the thousands of
illegal Zimbabwean immigrants seeking a better life in England - with a past he is determined to
hide.From the first line the language fizzes with energy, humour and not a little menace.As he struggles
to make his life in London (the 'Harare North' of the title) and battles with the weight of what he has left
behind in a strife-torn Zimbabwe, every expectation and preconception (both his and ours) is turned on its
head.The inhabitants of the squat function at various levels of desperation: Shingi struggles to find
meaningful work and to meet the demands of his family back home; Tsitsi makes a living renting out her
baby to women defrauding Social Services; Alex claims to have an important job in Croydon.
Fearlessly political, laugh-out-loud funny and with an anti-hero whose voice is impossible to forget,
Chikwava's novel is an arresting account of London as it is experienced by the Africa's dispossessed.
funny and with an anti-hero whose voice is impossible to forget, Chikwava's novel is an arresting
account of London as it is experienced by the Africa's dispossessed.