Mr B's review
Mr B’s Christmas Catalogue Review 2018
The Brexit referendum highlighted deep class divisions in our society. The Grenfell Tower tragedy sparked interest in the experiences of people made vulnerable by poverty. ‘Poverty Safari’ takes these two events as its starting point, guides us through the causes and effects of poverty, and examines why the political left and right both consistently fail to tackle the issue with any lasting success. A heart-breaking memoir and a fierce polemic; McGarvey’s anger is blistering, his insights captivating, his solutions challenging and robust.
The Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller.
Winner of the Orwell Prize 2018.
Named the most ‘Rebellious Read of the 21st Century’ in a Scottish Book Trust poll.
Darren McGarvey has experienced poverty and its devastating effects first-hand. He knows why people from deprived communities all around Britain feel angry and unheard. And he wants to explain . . .
So he invites you to come on a safari of sorts. But not the kind where the wildlife is surveyed from a safe distance. This book takes you inside the experience of poverty to show how the pressures really feel and how hard their legacy is to overcome.
Arguing that both the political left and right misunderstand poverty as it is actually lived, McGarvey sets out what everybody – including himself – could do to change things. Razor-sharp, fearless and brutally honest, Poverty Safari is an unforgettable insight into modern Britain.
The standout, authentic voice of a generation . . . the world is looking for eloquent voices like McGarvey’s to explain things * Herald (Scotland) * A raw account of his own deprivation and addiction and a powerful political argument. * Guardian * Describes in unflinching detail the realities of growing up poor in Britain and sets out to challenge the various ways in which poverty is represented in the media and on both sides of the political divide * Guardian * A blistering analysis of the issues facing the voiceless and the social mechanisms that hobble progress, all wrapped up in an unput-downable memoir. — Denise Mina Raw, powerful and challenging. — Kezia Dugdale The man seems to be on his way to becoming one of the most compelling and original voices in Scotland’s, and maybe Britain’s, public debate. If Scotland’s underclass could speak in a single, articulate, authentic voice to communicate to the rest of us what it’s like to be poor, isolated, brutalised, lost, it would sound very much like this. * Scottish Daily Mail * If The Road to Wigan Pier had been written by a Wigan miner and not an Etonian rebel, this is what might have been achieved. McGarvey’s book takes you to the heart of what is wrong with the society free market capitalism has created. — Paul Mason Poverty Safari is one of the best accounts of working-class life I have read. McGarvey is a rarity: a working-class writer who has fought to make the middle-class world hear what he has to say. — Nick Cohen * Guardian * By his own account, Darren McGarvey’s first twenty-five years were a real-life version of Trainspotting . . . Poverty Safari [is] a painfully honest autobiographical study of deprivation and how society should deal with it . . . But what has made McGarvey such a particular figure of attention is his political message . . . [McGarvey] seems to offer an antidote to populist anger that transcends left and right . . . his urgently written, articulate and emotional book is a bracing contribution to the debate about how to fix our broken politics. * Financial Times * Poverty Safari documents in vivid, piercing and frequently funny prose, the reality of growing up in Pollok and the consequences of a chaotic family life — Stephen McGinty * Sunday Times * Poverty Safari is an important and powerful book. — Nicola Sturgeon Another cry of anger from a working class that feels the pain of a rotten, failing system. Its value lies in the strength it will add to the movement for change. — Ken Loach Nothing less than an intellectual and spiritual rehab manual for the progressive left. — Irvine Welsh Part memoir, part polemic, this is a savage, wise and witty tour-de-force. An unflinching account of the realities of systemic poverty, Poverty Safari lays down challenges to both the left and right. It is hard to think of a more timely, powerful or necessary book. — J.K. Rowling