This year’s longlist for the Man Booker prize is an unusually intriguing one. Alongside commendations for such established writers as Alan Hollinghurst and Julian Barnes is a surprisingly healthy amount of what publishers might designate as ‘genre fiction’ (D J Taylor’s Derby Day; A D Miller’s Snowdrops) as well as an encouraging number of first novels.
Stephen Kelman’s Pigeon English (Bloomsbury 288pp £12.99) is one such debut. Its hero is Harrison Opoku, an eleven-year-old Ghanaian boy who lives on an inner-city housing estate with his mother and sister. At the beginning of the story Harrison, with the aid of a pair of plastic binoculars