Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Some Kind of Black - Diran Adebayo

I enjoyed most of this book. Some bits are very powerful, but there were also a few points where I found it hard to want to continue reading.

The main character, Dele, was born in England and is of Nigerian descent, though he has never been to Nigeria.

There's a particularly interesting chapter in which Dele, goes to a student party at Oxford. His views of the other people at the party are interesting and unforgiving, and reminiscences written into the party scene also describe intriguing events in the life of a black student at a predominantly white university in England. He mentions a sort of continuum I hadn't given much thought to before of how strong different acquaintances´ roots are. His inner thoughts regarding black stereotypes are arresting as well; sometimes he intentionally subverts them, while at other moments he deliberately plays up to them and exploits them.

The language throughout the book is creative - especially the representations of dialogue, not so much Dele´s own speech, but of his friend Concrete's, which is transcribed patios - though sometimes it got a wee bit much for me, personally. A wee bit too clever, sometimes.

Really, though, what sealed the deal on this book as a No for the course is that it's too London. As well as having a very dense lexicon, it has too much slang and too many cultural references which I think would be impenetrable. Even selecting carefully and cutting down, I think it's too much. It's tempting, though, because of the point of view it offers, so I might change my mind on this one later.


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