‘Full of love, wisdom and yearning’ Kit de Waal
A coming-of-age story set in Birmingham in the 1980s and 1990s, The Go-Between opens a window into a closed migrant community living in a red-light district on the wrong side of the tracks.
The adult world is seen through Osman’s eyes as a child: his own devout migrant Muslim patriarchal community, with its divide between the world of men and women, living cheek-by-jowl with parallel migrant communities.
Alternative masculinities compete with strict gender roles, and female erasure and honour-based violence are committed, even as empowering female friendships prevail. The stories Osman tells, some fantastical and humorous, others melancholy and even harrowing, take us from the Birmingham of Osman’s childhood to the banks of the river Kabul and the river Indus, and, eventually, to the London of his teenage years.
Osman weaves in and out of these worlds, struggling with the dual burdens of racism and community expectations, as he is forced to realise it is no longer possible to exist in the spaces in between.
A beautifully observed and funny book * * Guardian * * Osman's compelling and humane memoir shines light into a hidden world I didn't realise existed down the road from me. It's an essential book that will help you understand multiculturalism in all its complexities -- SATHNAM SANGHERA A poetic and moving book. Osman paints pictures with words, unfolding hidden stories that stay with you beyond the final page -- HANIF KUREISHI That rare thing, a memoir that reads like a novel; a page-turner full of love, wisdom and yearning that examines what it means for the outsider to belong and the winding route that takes us there. I loved it -- KIT DE WAAL Yousefzada's funny and fascinating story of moving between two cultures . . . this memoir is a welcome exploration of time and place * * Stylist * * Moving and vivid . . . distinctive and memorable . . . by turns harrowing and humorous. [Yousefzada] is adept at portraying life through the eyes of a child as well as infusing passages with reflective wisdom and perspective. In evocative prose that skilfully charts both outer landscapes and inner emotional worlds, The Go-Between captures how it feels to be an outsider, and the yearning to belong * * i * * A remarkable insight into multicultural Britain and the pain inherent in following your own path * * Observer * * A fascinating memoir, quite chilling in parts, and uplifting in others -- NIHAL ARTHANAYAKE Eloquently honest and eye-openingly frank * * The Times * * I don't think I properly understood the true nature of multiculturalism before reading Osman Yousefzada's The Go-Between. Only really good writing can bring alive the truth, the colour, the reality and the meaning of an experience like Osman's. And he really is a good writer . . . I read with such pleasure, terror, amusement, admiration and fascination - it is surely one of the great childhood memoirs of our times -- STEPHEN FRY
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