cover image Junglist


Two Fingas and James Kirk. Repeater, $14.95 trade paper (186p) ISBN 978-1-913462-50-5

This fascinating reissue of a 1995 novel by two young music fans, whose real names are Andrew Green and Eddie Otchere, is “reputed to be the most stolen book in the London prison system,” according to an introduction from writer Sukhdev Sandhu. It follows four Black Londoners—Meth, Biggie, Q, and Craig—over a meandering summer weekend, to the beat of jungle music and lots of weed. There is musicality in the language: “walking bouncy, and slightly pimp limpish,” and a practically erotic description of a vinyl record. The narrative is thin, more mood than story, but the authors vividly describe the atmosphere. The freedom of dancing in a club or at a house party expresses the inchoate yearning of the characters, who are often harassed by the police. They reflect on race and colorism (“as if you can tell how Black a person is just by looking at their complexion. It is just so dishonest, so fucking dishonest.... Why the eternal question: Am I dark enough? I’m too light,” Biggie reflects) and ruminate on women they’ve lost. A bitter tone pulsates like a bassline throughout, ending with an elegiac burst of stream of consciousness. Crude but never dull, this manages to sublimate its characters’ youthful energy and frustrations into art. (Aug.)