The Go-Between: A Portrait of Growing Up Between Different Worlds (Hardback)
  • The Go-Between: A Portrait of Growing Up Between Different Worlds (Hardback)
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The Go-Between: A Portrait of Growing Up Between Different Worlds (Hardback)

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£16.99
Hardback 368 Pages
Published: 27/01/2022

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Waterstones Says

Osman’s beautifully observed memoir of growing up in a devout, patriarchal Pashtun community in the middle of the red-light district of 1980s Birmingham is an eye-opening story of navigating racism and community expectations that sheds new light on the complex make-up of multicultural Britain.

A coming-of-age story set in Birmingham in the 1980s and 1990s, The Go-Between opens a window into a closed migrant community living in a red-light district on the wrong side of the tracks.

The adult world is seen through Osman's eyes as a child: his own devout Pashtun patriarchal community, with its divide between the world of men and women, living cheek-by-jowl with parallel migrant communities. The orthodox attend a mosque down the road from the prostitutes and pimps. Children balance Western school teachings with cultural traditions.

Alternative masculinities compete with strict gender roles, and female erasure and honour-based violence are committed, even as empowering female friendships prevail. The stories Osman tells, some fantastical and humorous, others melancholy and even harrowing, take us from the Birmingham of Osman's childhood to the banks of the river Kabul and the river Indus, and, eventually, to the London of his teenage years.

Osman weaves in and out of these worlds, struggling with the dual burdens of racism and community expectations, as he is forced to realise it is no longer possible to exist in the spaces in between.

Publisher: Canongate Books
ISBN: 9781786893529
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 479 g
Dimensions: 220 x 144 x 34 mm
Edition: Main


MEDIA REVIEWS

A beautifully observed and funny book - Guardian

Osman's compelling and humane memoir shines light into a hidden world I didn't realise existed down the road from me. It's an essential book that will help you understand multiculturalism in all its complexities - SATHNAM SANGHERA

I don't think I properly understood the true nature of multiculturalism before reading Osman Yousefzada's The Go-Between. Only really good writing can bring alive the truth, the colour, the reality and the meaning of an experience like Osman's. And he really is a good writer . . . I read with such pleasure, terror, amusement, admiration and fascination - it is surely one of the great childhood memoirs of our times - STEPHEN FRY

A poetic and moving book. Osman paints pictures with words, unfolding hidden stories that stay with you beyond the final page - HANIF KUREISHI

That rare thing, a memoir that reads like a novel; a page-turner full of love, wisdom and yearning that examines what it means for the outsider to belong and the winding route that takes us there. I loved it - KIT DE WAAL

Yousefzada's funny and fascinating story of moving between two cultures . . . this memoir is a welcome exploration of time and place - Stylist

Moving and vivid . . . distinctive and memorable . . . by turns harrowing and humorous. [Yousefzada] is adept at portraying life through the eyes of a child as well as infusing passages with reflective wisdom and perspective. In evocative prose that skilfully charts both outer landscapes and inner emotional worlds, The Go-Between captures how it feels to be an outsider, and the yearning to belong - i

A remarkable insight into multicultural Britain and the pain inherent in following your own path - Observer

A fascinating memoir, quite chilling in parts, and uplifting in others - NIHAL ARTHANAYAKE

Eloquently honest and eye-openingly frank - The Times

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Hardback

“Compelling, thought provoking and beautiful.”

Osman is a perceptive child who takes you on a journey with him as he watches the world he grows up in.

This world is rich in pain, laughter and kindness. Family dynamics, class politics and the challenges of... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 16

“Inspiring”

I come from the same community that Osman is from. I know his family, his mother and sister in law made clothes for the community. He changes lots of stuff around and mixes it all up, but the book is incredibly... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 15

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