1970s London: Young Michael runs past the railway arches and terraces of Vauxhall. Reaching the street on which he lives, he witnesses a young girl fall from a window, her sari floating down behind her. Her lifeless body lies crumpled on the ground.
This incident marks the beginning of a year in which Michael’s life threatens to unravel. From his sister’s taunts to a series of house fires, police harassment, his parents’ crumbling marriage and the realisation that the council intends to clear out the ‘slum’ he calls home, he learns to navigate his way through an array of obstacles, big and small.
An extraordinary debut novel, Vauxhall tells a warm and hopeful story of a young boy and the city that surrounds him.
About the Author
Gabriel Gbadamosi is an Irish-Nigerian poet, playwright and essayist born in London. He was AHRC Creative and Performing Arts Fellow at the Pinter Centre, Goldsmiths, and a Judith E. Wilson Fellow for creative writing at Cambridge University. His plays include Shango, Hotel Orpheu and for radio The Long, Hot Summer of '76(BBC Radio 3), which won the Richard Imison Award. He has presented Night Waves on BBC Radio 3 and Art Beat on the World Service. Vauxhall (Telegram) is his first novel.
'Only a poet could have written Vauxhall. I can hear Yeats and Joyce in it ... Gbadamosi paints a vivid portrait of 1970s multicultural London, giving that time in our recent history its own music, voice and clear light. Vauxhall is written in the way that English should be written - clean, swift yet with flashes of lightning.'
Bonnie Greer, author of Hanging by her Teeth
'A tenderly observed, fascinating portrait of a childhood in South London, as it moves from post-war darkness into an uncertain new era.'
Blake Morrison, author of South of the River
'Immediately appealing, this is quite an odyssey through the maelstrom that London was in the 1970s. A remarkable achievement'
Brian Chikwava, author of Harare North
'Vauxhall is a book of rare poetic insight and humour that absorbs from start to finish.'
Ian Thomson, The Spectator
'A powerful novel about human resilience.'
'An impressive feat of memory and skill'
Diran Adebayo, author of Some Kind of Black
'Vauxhall by Gabriel Gbadamosi, a heart-rending tale of exuberance and vitality amongst the squalor of 1960s Lambeth tenements, is my favourite novel of the year. It just pips the rediscovery of John Williams's Stoner'
Colin Grant, author of Bageye at the Wheel