When he lands in Harare North, our unnamed protagonist carries nothing but a cardboard suitcase full of memories and a longing to be reunited with his childhood friend, Shingi.
He ends up in Shingi's Brixton squat where the inhabitants 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 her baby out to women defrauding the Social Services.
As our narrator struggles to make his way in 'Harare North', negotiating life outside the legal economy and battling with the weight of what he has left behind in strife-torn Zimbabwe, every expectation and preconception is turned on its head.
This is the story of a stranger in a strange land - one of the thousands of illegal immigrants seeking a better life in England - with a past he is determined to hide.
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.
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