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  • Outside Left: The Book Of Birmingham - Sharon Duggal read first from her story, Seep. Her story of girls doing something maybe they shouldn’t, but maybe not so bad now, in 1960s Handsworth, to a soundtrack of American Soul music. Oh it just put me exactly in the room with her fish out of water protagonists, it was beautiful and stunning and intimate and beyond it foretold of the thrills and spills ahead which I can only contemplate from afar now. I was actually excitedly transported farRead More
  • @Mumblin’ Deaf Ro - The Handsworth Times: It’s a book that does everything well: group dialogue, intimate scenes, translating the political to the personal, evoking the era with details rather than props, the astute observations about the subtlety of prejudice. Effortlessly accomplished.
  • Dread Town - From 3:AM Magazine. One night in my early teens, my father pulled into the road where we lived in the Lozells district of Birmingham. We had just returned from a family visit to a relative’s house on the other side of town. A few yards from home, we were met by a wall of police officers with helmets and shields blocking the street and told to exit our vehicle. Unknown to us – in a time before the internet, mobileRead More
  • Bluemoose Books ‘Book that made my year’ - From The Guardian, Hits and misses: indie publishers pick their books of 2016. Kevin Duffy Director, Bluemoose Books The book that made my year The Handsworth Times by Sharon Duggal: how one family struggles to cope after losing a son in the riots of 1981, when the National Front marched through the inner cities and communities fought against racism and injustice, struggling for their dignity. Our book that deserved to do better If You Look at Me I Am Not Here byRead More
  • Morning Star’s Book of the Year 2016 - From the Morning Star. My book of the year is The Handsworth Times (Bluemoose), Sharon Duggal’s account of life in early-80s working- class Birmingham, which is defined by greater and lesser griefs. Mukesh Agarwal’s son Billy is knocked down and killed by a hurrying ambulance and, as he slips into even greater alcoholic incoherence and joblessness, the other family members move to different points of the grieving compass. Their son Kavi becomes totally nihilistic. Nina the eldest daughter escapes toRead More
  • Women Reads Books - From Women Reads Books. Mukesh Agarwal sits alone in the Black Eagle pub, unaware that a riot is brewing or that Billy, his youngest son, is still out on his bike…A mile away, at home in Church Street, Anila, one of the three Agarwal girls, is reading Smash Hits and listening to Radio One as she sprawls across the bottom bunk, oblivious to the monumental tragedy that is about to hit her family. It is 1981 and Handsworth is teeteringRead More
  • Amazon - From Amazon.co.uk. “The Handsworth Times” is an outstanding work in every aspect. It conveys a visceral sense both of time & place with a prose style that manages to be both clear & detailed, & also stylish & unostentatiously poetic. But for all its literary qualities, the book is also gifted with fiction’s first requirements, a rattling good yarn & an engaging cast of characters, & these are again managed with consummate & effortless skill. What Jane Austen does withRead More
  • Riotous story of the power and potential of working-class solidarity - A review by the Morning Star. THIS novel by Sharon Duggal of life in early-1980s working-class Birmingham during the time of inner-city rioting is defined by the greater and lesser griefs of the Agarwal family. Through their voices, the wonderful cussedness of a people and a community that will not be destroyed either by itself or by others speaks loud and clear. The tone of loss is set early on, with father Mukesh Agarwal supping in a pub as theRead More
  • Brew and Books Blog - From Brew and Books Blog. About – The Handsworth Times Mukesh Agarwal sits alone in the Black Eagle pub, unaware that a riot is brewing or that Billy, his youngest son, is still out on his bike …A mile away in the family home in Church Street, Anila, one of the three Agarwal girls, is reading Smash Hits and listening to Radio One as she sprawls across the bottom bunk, oblivious to the monumental tragedy that is about to hitRead More