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"A brilliant, powerful elegy . . . pulsing with rhythm, and beating with life." --Marlon James, Man Booker Prizewinning author of A BRIEF HISTORY OF SEVEN KILLINGS
"Marks the beginning of an absolutely mammoth literary talent." --Kiese Laymon, author of LONG DIVISION and HEAVY
In luminous, incisive prose, a startling new literary talent explores masculinity, race, and sexuality against a backdrop of simmering violence during the summer of 1991.
WINNER OF THE ROGERS WRITERS' TRUST FICTION PRIZE
WINNER OF THE ETHEL WILSON PRIZE FOR FICTION
One sweltering summer in the Park, a housing complex outside of Toronto, Michael and Francis are coming of age and learning to stomach the careless prejudices and low expectations that confront them as young men of black and brown ancestry. While their Trinidadian single mother works double, sometimes triple shifts so her boys might fulfill the elusive promise of their adopted home, Francis helps the days pass by inventing games and challenges, bringing Michael to his crew's barbershop hangout, and leading escapes into the cool air of the Rouge Valley, a scar of green wilderness where they are free to imagine better lives for themselves.
Propelled by the beats and styles of hip hop, Francis dreams of a future in music. Michael's dreams are of Aisha, the smartest girl in their high school whose own eyes are firmly set on a life elsewhere. But the bright hopes of all three are violently, irrevocably thwarted by a tragic shooting, and the police crackdown and suffocating suspicion that follow.
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