BY GABRIEL GBADAMOSI (Telegram Books, 2013 / Editions Zoé, 2015)
In French translation by Elisabeth Gilles (Editions Zoé). Read in French
Gabriel Gbadamosi reads from Vauxhall and talks to film-maker Charlotte Ginsborg. See the film
Gbadamosi is an exceptional writer of Nigerian/Irish heritage, who describes with poetic rhythm a child’s awakening in a violent, confusing London.
The boy Michael lives in a rat-infested, overcrowded house in Vauxhall in the Seventies. His story is full of people leaving – his friend Emily is taken away by her family, his school friend Brian disappears and even his mother leaves his Dad (though she does come back).
Finally, Michael must move on, too, as their house is to be demolished to make way for the new tower blocks.
Yet this is not a bleak tale. Told in a series of vivid and often comical vignettes, the story of Michael’s childish navigation of street games, school, Catholic priests, the police, racism, lavatorial disasters, bunk beds, social workers and even the unkindnesses of an elder sister is underpinned by wisdom, love and warmth.
This is a powerful novel about human resilience. More
Vauxhall won the Tibor Jones Pageturner Prize for Fiction. More
Vauxhall won Best International Novel at the 2013 Sharjah Book Fair. More
Podcast, reading from Vauxhall at Goldsmiths, South London. Listen
You can read an extract here.