Jun 21, 2019Plooch rated this title 0.5 out of 5 stars
Not sure why people love this so much. Definitely some deft moves: the way siren lights distort the neighbourhood, the dangerous electrical pole to agency on the first page, some aspects of the relationships. But the story's catalyst (drug dealer is shot dead, drawing harsh police attention to the neighbourhood) doesn't really work because it's never made clear why this particular violent episode inspired the cops to be dicks rather than some previous episode. Aren't the cops endlessly dicks in places like Scarborough? Shouldn't their oppressive behaviour have been a steady part of the setting rather than something Chariandy needed to trigger?
Language is also a huge issue. The voice doesn't make much sense, like why does the narrator use near-Victorian English to tell his story, fetching this, placing things upon that, and pausing to guffaw? And how, exactly, do you fumblingly put a condom on inside out? There are a lot of clumsy sentence fragments that don't add the depth the author intends (a tinfoil-in-the-window entry is so clunky it's funny), and the overall story is more a collection of immigrants-in-Canada tropes than anything else. The police shooting at its heart definitely makes it topical, but there's no way this book is worth the $200,000 in prize money showered, um, upon it.