Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman

Pigeon English

Lying in front of Harrison Opoku is a body, the body of one of his classmates, a boy known for his crazy basketball skills, who seems to have been murdered for his dinner.Armed with a pair of camouflage binoculars and detective techniques absorbed from television shows like CSI, Harri and his best friend, Dean, plot to bring the perpetrator to justice. They gather evidence—fingerprints lifted from windows with tape, a wallet stained with blood...

Details Pigeon English

TitlePigeon English
Release DateJul 19th, 2011
PublisherHoughton Mifflin Harcourt
GenreFiction, Mystery, Contemporary

Reviews Pigeon English

  • Jaidee
    2.5 "well intentioned but sloppy and repetitive" stars !!! I am a bit surprised that this was a Booker prize nominee for 2011. An 11 year old refugee from Ghana moves to a poor neighbourhood in London UK and lives his life with his mother and sister while Dad and baby sister remain in Ghana. He and his friends come upon a crime scene where an older teen boy is stabbed to death and the remainder of the book very loosely and sloppily becomes a bit ...
  • Snotchocheez
    Asweh, I spent hell of donkey hours reading this, got ants in my pant getting through the pigeon parts (hutious! Made me go red-eyes proper), wore out my bo-stylez trainers (Diadoras) walking back and forth laughing full stop and getting all stomachy over the mad crazy adventures of Harri and his sister Chlamydia. For real. Advise yourself!!! Totally fine good book, better than X-Men, innit.(but for realz for real, a very impressive first novel b...
  • Petra CigareX
    This book is about a kid from a Ghanian family living on a rough council estate in London and his experiences after seeing a murdered child. It's told in a very authentic voice, the writing very emotive - the bullies hurt me, the murder worried me, I felt for the family still at home in Africa and I hoped he'd get through, still the same go-for-it, full-off-life kid. There was one irritating note which was that there was a pigeon whose voice coul...
  • Pedro Benoliel
    Yesterday I bought a book. It was called Pigeon English. It only cost 50p from the cancer shop. I don't think it has cancer though. I bought it because the cover was bo-styles. There was also a bit about an award.BOOK COVER: 'Shortlisted for the Man Booker Award 2011'.I read it right after I bought it. It was on the train. The train takes one hour and twenty minutes to get to Waterloo. And then I was on the bus. And then another bus. And all the ...
  • F
    Easy read. Was cute reading from a young perspective sometimes. Did not enjoy the ending. Found it pretty cheesy altogether. Probs not recommend. Not life changing.
  • K.D. Absolutely
    A novel with a very strong message yet the telling is very soft, innocent and sweet. It’s like listening to the flapping of the wings of a butterfly: the sound it creates is almost inaudible yet its impact can cross oceans. This novel was one of the 5 shortlisted novels for Booker 2011 but in the final deliberation lost to Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending. But in my humble opinion, this is better. Probably the reason why it went to Barne...
  • Helle
    Asweh, it was very funny reading this book. But it was also very sad. It took donkey years for me to get through the first half of the book; the pidgin-Londonese sounded dey touch to me. And the story was heavy in my hands. But 11-year-old Harri Opoku from Ghana grew on me, and I gradually learned the lingo. In a violent, gritty council estate, Harri struggles to get through the days, trying to solve the murder of a boy with his best friend, Dean...
  • ·Karen·
    I would have liked to hear more from the pigeon.No, actually that's not true. Harri's repetitious, boring style grates very quickly and I thought to begin with that the voice in italics would be a bit of relief. Which just goes to show that I'm not much good at thinking. The voice in italics turned out to be a pigeon. Come on. In the words of Big John McEnroe - you cannot be serious.Plot so thin as to be utterly transparent, two narrative voices ...
  • Blair
    Harrison Opoku, an 11-year-old boy whose family have recently arrived in England from his native Ghana, is the narrator of this sad and funny hybrid of a coming-of-age tale and and a murder mystery. At the beginning of the book, a boy Harri vaguely knows is stabbed and killed, and he and his friend Dean set out to catch the murderer. Their mission forms the backdrop for Harri's lengthy observations on life in England: the social hierarchy of his ...
  • Marialyce
    .....and the reason this has been nominated for the Mann Booker award is??????A good concept gone totally wrong..... I have to say that I have never been a fan of a child narrator. I think it takes an especially gifted author to speak authentically as a child unless that author is a child himself. I didn't care for the absolute jumpiness of the story, written as though the narrator was on something and in somewhat hyper text pieces that were inte...
  • Tony
    There are three aspects to this debut novel that are probably going to make or break the average reader's reaction to it. The first is that it is largely plotless -- instead it follows an 11-year-old immigrant from Ghana as he makes his way around the impoverished London estate new home. The second is that it is narrated in his broken, or "pidgin" English. And the third is that at the start and end of some chapters, it also features some first-pi...
  • Jo
    Told from the perspective of Harri, an eleven year old who recently moved from Ghana to an inner city council estate, this novel perfectly depicts the horrifying reality of gangs and knife-crime in London. When a boy is murdered outside a fast food restaurant, Harri and his CSI-obsessed friend Dean take it upon themselves to investigate the crime themselves. However in an estate which is run by the Dell Farm Crew and where the police can't be tru...
  • Ellie
    Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman is the story of a young boy, newly arrived from Ghana with his mother and older sister, making his way through the mean streets of London. Eleven year old Harrison Opatu is filled with gusto-for life, for language, for experiences of all kinds. He is filled with the magic of childhood. His relationship with his sister Lydia feels real and authentic. His mother is trying her best to support her children as a nurse ...
  • Stephanie
    I should probably write a long detailed review of this book; it really deserves it. But I am not the most articulate person and I don't feel I could give it it's due praise in words that would convey how I felt about it.I should have known that reading a book in a language other than my own would be difficult; I speak American Southern English and this is written in London slang English. Yes, I got most of it but much of it was truly a foreign la...
  • Nevena
    Има немалки достойнства тази книга. Води се от гледната точка на 11-годишно имигрантче от Гана в беден ландонски кварта, чийто глас звучи много автентично. Личи си, че авторът е извършил сериозни проучвания – за Гана, за незаконната имиграция, за м...
  • Sandie
    Prepare to fall in love. Harrison Opuku bursts off the page and into the reader’s heart. Harri is eleven, a recent immigrant from Ghana. He is now living in England with his mother and sister; his father, grandmother and baby sister left behind until the family can afford for them to come also. Living in the projects, Harri is amazed at all the new things he sees. The subway is an amazing item that he can’t quite believe work. He thinks it is...
  • Reindert Van Zwaal
    A book that is more about a way of being and thinking than about a story. The book is written in tiny bits and pieces switching from topic every few pages, matching the way of thought of the 11 year old main character. Because of this it didn't really bother me that the book has no real story. The writing style I found original, but I was a bit disturbed by all the violence the kids seemed to think to be normal everyday practice. Some parts were ...
  • Andrea Mullarkey
    Sometimes I like to read books nobody is talking about so I can champion them and find them new readers. And sometimes I just want to read the book everybody else is talking about. Pigeon English was one of those books. It’s the story of 11 year old Harrison Opuku, an immigrant from Ghana living in a London housing project. It’s a first person narrative and I had the distinct sense I was watching the world through Harri’s eyes. He has very ...
  • Susan Abulhawa
    this was a tender, beautifully told story. written in the voice of eleven year old Harri, recently arrived in London with his mum and sister from Ghana. His father, grandmother and baby sister Agnes stay behind until the family can afford to be reunited. Shortlisted for the Booker Prize, this coming of age [combined with murder mystery] grabbed me by the heart with urban London slang, ‘pidgin’ English. It was a bo-styles story. Harri was an u...
  • Tamaracj
    If it were possible to give this book zero stars, I would. Although the premise behind it is interesting and novel enough- looking at the troubled marginalized youth in London's inner city from their own perspective - the execution was atrocious. I can't recall the last time I skipped through so many pages of a book. The idea of the eleven year old as narrator works for the first few pages. Then, as 'yout speak' does, it just starts to grate on y...
  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    This is the first book I read from the longlist for the 2011 Man Booker Prize. I really enjoyed this. Harri, the eleven-year-old protagonist, is a (possibly illegal) immigrant from Ghana, living in the projects in London. The book is full of a mixture of slang and beliefs from Ghana and his new community. Like most children, he doesn't fully understand what is going on around him, and has no grasp of the danger and violence he is surrounded by. I...
  • Diane
    What a beautiful book. Sad and heartbreaking though. Told in first person by an 11 year old immigrant from Ghana living in council housing in London. His whole environment is ominous and yet he sees beauty and things to love everywhere. He is telling his feelings and experiences to a Pigeon he has “adopted”. The Pigeon might be his guardian angel. Not sure.
  • Noa
    Although I'm known to hate on characters with annoying speech patterns (looking at you, The Cacther in the Rye and Everything is Illuminated), this book is incredibly important and the narrator's innocence only makes the situations and issues of the novel more poignant.
  • Mira Margitta
    Priča o dječaku Harrisonu iz Gane koji živi u Londonu.Na momente šaljiva i smiješna,na momente tužna.
  • Ron Charles
    Charm and peril are on full display in Stephen Kelman’s first novel, a finalist for the 2011 Booker Prize. "Pigeon English" is based on the true tale of a 10-year-old Nigerian who was murdered in London in 2000 by other boys just a few years older. That death sentence hangs at the end of this story, but Kelman writes in such a buoyant, delightful voice that you’ll want to forget where the novel is headed, despite some ominous reminders along ...
  • Alistair
    It was okay, about summarises it.The trouble with books which have been shortlisted, or awarded something, is that you approach them expecting to be impressed. I wasn't impressed. I didn't dislike it, it was not bad, I just wasn't impressed.Good things: - I like a child narrator. I think it's probably an easy way to get sympathy for your main character. On the whole, I liked his figure of speech, though it was not in itself enough to keep me inte...
  • Gozde
    I like Man Booker books. I like reading them. But every once in a while, I can't help but think some of them are just overrated.My mood usually affects my overall liking of the book I'm currently reading and I was in a pretty down mood when I was reading Pigeon English. But to be honest, I don't think my thoughts would differ even if I was in my most cheery self. I'm sure Mr. Kelman has created some loveable characters but sadly, I could feel no ...
  • Ravi Gangwani
    I think Stephen Kelman might have read 'Paddy Clarke Ha Ha HA!' and 'Curious incident of dog in the nighttime'. And then he must have read of murder of ' Damilola Taylor' ... After that using little bit of his imagination he put all in juicer-mixer grinder and the result was 'Pigeon English'.The voice it sounded to me like little older version of Paddy Clarke who is solving the murder-case as same on the lines of Chris of 'Curious Incident ... '....
  • Zen Cho
    Oh, it was good! I laughed out loud a lot. But it was sad. :( I totally wasn't prepared for the ending, though I knew it had to be kind of abrupt considering how the book was structured. This is one of the books where I thought it'd be really serious and literary and grimdark, and actually it's just very ... cute. With dark currents, of course, and sad serious stuff, but the main character is so cute and good-hearted. Ohhhhh I am sad about the en...