Biyi Bandele's striking novel, The Street, is inhabited by eccentric, mesmerizing characters, who, according to the unnamed narrator, are 'people reaching out to one another, searching for love'.This multiracial neighbourhood witnesses Mide the bookseller, moonlighting as a stand-up comedian; Haifa Kampana, infatuated with the cashier at the 7-eleven; and the Heckler, deriding the sandwich-board preachers outside Brixton tube station.
Through these characters, Biyi Bandele creates a surreal social milieu in which he positions the restored relationship between the painter, Nehushta, and her father, Ossie Jones, who has awakened from a fifteen-year coma. Bandele's blend of humour, sentimentality and the fantastic is an invigorating literary exploration of diasporic reality in contemporary Britain.
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Biyi Bandele's third novel, The Street, is a surreal and picaresque trawl through the weird and wonderful streets of Brixton. At the heart of the book are several, loosely interlinked stories featuring larger-than-life characters: the painter Nehusta and her father Ossie Jones, following his awakening from a fifteen-year coma; Dada, a Nigerian journalist, and his cousin, the Heckler, who spends most of his time berating the various sandwich-board preachers gathering outside Brixton tube; and Haifa Kampana, who is so obsessed by the till girl at his local 7-eleven he secretly stalks and photographs her for months on end. According to the unnamed narrator, all of these odd, and very funny characters, are "people reaching out to one another, searching for love". They are also the main focus of Bandele's constantly exhilarating portrayal of Brixton people and places. The Street, like Bandele's earlier The Sympathetic Undertaker and other Dreams, is a witty, quasi- documentary, exercise in the urban surrealism of everyday life, the main effect of which is an endlessly proliferating field of vision ranging from black comedy to metaphysical speculation, sentimental melodrama to the language of dreams and romance. -- David MarriottBook Description:
In this mesmerizing novel Biyi Bandele recreates the unique atmosphere of a multiracial community in contemporary Britain. The Street is populated with a series of amazing characters – Mide the bookseller, who moonlights as a stand-up comedian; The Heckler, who wittily taunts the sandwich-board preachers outside the tube station; Haifa Kampana, who is obsessed with the till girl at his local 7-Eleven. At the book’s centre is Nehushta and her renewed relationship with her father, Ossie Jones, following his awakening from a fifteen-year coma. Biyi Bandele has created a magical voice, mixing humour, the surreal, passion and wit, to produce one of the most arresting novels in recent years.
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Book Description Penguin Books, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 143026461