This is a tender, beautifully composed book, voiced from the outsider perspective of Michael as two key timelines from his family life play out. At times it is brutal and there are outbursts of devastating violence. But there is so much articulate and generous emotion that, ultimately, hope can be felt - especially in the evocation of mix-music that enables culture to creatively intersect. In this deceptively slight book, every word matters.
The world around us was named Scarborough. It had once been called 'Scarberia,' a wasteland on the outskirts of a sprawling city. But now, as we were growing up in the early '80s, in the heated language of a changing nation, we heard it called other names: Scarlem, Scarbistan. We lived in Scar-bro, a suburb that had mushroomed up and yellowed, browned, and blackened into life.