A book so rough and yet written in such a poetic way that one is absolutely mesmerized. Gunaratne draws a picture of three young men living in the suburbs of London. Their reality is taking every moment and every day as it comes. Playing football at a court surrounded by the towering council estates defining their lives.
South block, north block, the big smoke in the back. Sitting on the rooftop of the block, looking over the dark grey sky, watching his friend running, steaming, blowing air into the cold, Yusuf is writing. And he is good too. When he is pushed to “spit” his rhymes on a spontaneous rap battle with some local boys on the bus.
It’s a damn fine line
Within in it all lie the believes of these young men. Some of them go to mosque, some of them pray to the football gods or just to their friends having each others back. It appears that Gunaratne sees it all, the strong lines of friendship, the fine lines between ethnicites, the fluttering lines between the big city lights and the firm lines of past generations, that come together in these critical times. There is a big crack in the lines as well, between the forming riots, the fire, the clash of anger in the air, the boys inbetween and a shattering end.
Somehow for me this book is as urban as it gets, The London grime, the slang, the beat, you can smell the city through every page. But it is so much more than that. It feels like it is about finding faith in a world that breaks apart society in tiny pieces. And it all comes down for these young people to find faith in themselves.