The Dirty South by Alex Wheatle
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Set in Brixton, 20 years after the race riots, The Dirty South follows the adventures of Bricky teenager Dennis Huggins as he drifts into the easy, dangerous life of the shotta - or drug dealer - and discovers that, hard as the struggle for respect on the streets is, the struggle for love is harder still. At least Dennis has involved parents looking out for him; too many of his friends have no guidance other than that offered by their fellow shottaz, or the dubiously motivated black Muslims. Wheatle brilliantly evokes the temptations of the thug life for young black men growing up in London's 'Dirty South' - a fast, compelling novel that offers no easy answers but refuses to shy away from asking the difficult questions.