Brenton Brown

Brenton Brown by Alex Wheatle

Brenton Brown

Juliet is consumed with guilt because she knows that her half-brother, Brenton, grew up in children's homes with no family while she received all her mother's love. She marries Clayton, a successful banker, to please her mother. He treats her daughter, Breanna, like his own - but secretly he has always suspected that there has been something going on between Juliet and Brenton. Meanwhile, Juliet and Brenton try to stay away from what they know is a forbidden love...

'The pace of the events which occurs in this book and which affect the characters in immeasurable ways only adds to the beauty and beat of Alex's highly nuanced understanding of life as a minority in contemporary Britain.' A Book Between Friends

Wheatle's dialogue sings.' Guardian

'What distinguishes Brenton Brown, as with Brixton Rock, is a rich layering of motive and emotion that lifts his protagonist far above the pundits' platitudes... Above all, in Brenton's still-enraged mind, social and psychological obstacles to his contentment fuse. So he – and we - can hardly see the joins. That complex motivation makes Wheatle a true novelist, not a sociologist – along, of course, with the robust dialogue, streetwise humour and muscular, mischievous vernacular that grace this book. Via the mixed feelings and scrambled identity of its hero (who even in his hard-working artisan's life can seem to younger tearaways like "a proper Brixton badman"), it does perform fiction's proper role. It makes us see that strife – on the streets or in the mind – may have many fathers. Both actors and victims, free to change but pressured to repeat the patterns of the past, Brenton and his fellow-Brixtonians show that acts (however reckless) have multiple causes. But they also have "consequences" – of guilt, of hurt, of harm – that will "last a lifetime".' Boyd Tonkin, Independent

'While this book was finished long before the (UK) riots, it reminds us of the human beings behind the television pictures. Wheatle understands more than he condemns, but he is tough on his characters. (...) ultimately, this book is about hope. A traumatised childhood, a spell in jail, and getting in with the wrong crowd does not have to mean a life sentence.' Tribune

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01 Aug 2012
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About the author

  • Alex Wheatle

    Alex Wheatle

    Born in 1963 to Jamaican parents living in Brixton, Alex Wheatle spent most of his childhood in a Surrey children's home. He returned to Brixton in 1977 where he founded the Crucial Rocker sound system and performed his own songs and lyrics under the name of Yardman Irie. He spent a short stint in prison following the Brixton uprising in 1981. Following his release from prison he continued to write poems and lyrics and became known as the Brixton Bard. Alex's first novel, Brixton Rock, was published to critical acclaim in 1999. Five more novels, East of Acre Lane, The Seven Sisters, Island Songs, Checkers and The Dirty South followed, all highly praised. His books are on school reading lists and Alex takes part in Black History Month every year, working with Booktrust and the Children's Discovery Centre to promote reading. He is representing English PEN, and tours the country with his one-man show, Uprising. He teaches in various places, including Lambeth College, holds workshops in prisons and is frequently invited to schools to speak to students, inspiring a passion for literature with his own story. He was awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list for services to literature in 2008. A favourite of reading groups and libraries, he is the UK's most read Black British author. He is working on a non-fiction book about Black Britain and on Young Adult novels.

    Titles by Alex Wheatle

    Brenton Brown by Alex Wheatle
    Brixton Rock
    Home Boys