It’s a funny thing how Pilgrim’s dad always knows when he’s going to do something. The old man pauses at the front door, trying to figure out how another afternoon ended up in a carpet of discarded Ladbrokes slips at his feet. He is silhouetted against the hallway light, stares out at the car waiting, engine warm. Inside are two young black guys, known thugs in shell suits, who glower back at him. He brought his son over from Jamaica at the age of eight, out of a life without electricity or water, and now here the boy is on his nineteenth birthday, a fully-fledged man gangster. He is baffled how this happened. Pilgrim thunders down the stairs and brushes straight past him, rolling his shoulders as he storms out to the car. Something is being planned for later, a man’s amount of trouble is brewing.
She’d been lying in the hammock reading poetry for over an hour. It
wasn’t easy: she was thinking all the while about George coming back
with Cecil, and she kept sliding down, in small half-willing surrenders,
till she was in a heap, with the book held tiringly above her face.
DECEMBER 1995 When I woke up in the trunk of Sam Couples’ latest Land Rover the damn thing was already moving, presumably being driven by the man himself. Using the corner of a picnic blanket I wiped encrusted spit from my chin and cheek.
When nine-year-old Rahul Bhattacharya moved from small-town India to Bombay, he quickly surrendered to the big city's diverse appeal. But with urban life came a loss of concentration that was to last many years.