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When he lands in Harare North, our unnamed protagonist carries nothing but a cardboard suitcase full of memories and an email address for his childhood friend, Shingi.Finessing his way through immigration, he spends a few restless weeks as the very unwelcome guest in his cousin s home before tracking down Shingi in a Brixton squat. In this astonishing, revelatory original debut, Caine Prize winner Brian Chikwava tackles head-on the realities of life as a refugee.This is the story of a stranger in a strange land one of the thousands of illegal Zimbabwean immigrants seeking a better life in England - with a past he is determined to hide.From the first line the language fizzes with energy, humour and not a little menace.As he struggles to make his life in London (the Harare North of the title) and battles with the weight of what he has left behind in a strife-torn Zimbabwe, every expectation and preconception (both his and ours) is turned on its head.The inhabitants of the squat function at various levels of desperation- Shingi struggles to find meaningful work and to meet the demands of his family back home; Tsitsi makes a living renting out her baby to women defrauding Social
Brian Chikwava is among the exciting new generation of writers emerging from the African continent. His short story Seventh Street Alchemy was awarded the 2004 Caine Prize for African Writing.He has been a Charles Pick fellow at the University of East Anglia, and lives in London.