Man on Fire
I was beating the life out of Bibhuti with a baseball bat when my first monsoon broke...John Lock has come to India to meet his destiny: a destiny dressed in a white karate suit and sporting an impressive moustache. He has fled the quiet desperation of his life in England: decades wasted in a meaningless job, a marriage foundering in the wake of loss and a terrible secret he cannot bear to share with his wife. He has come to offer his help to a man who has learned to conquer pain, a world record breaker who specialises in feats of extreme endurance and ill-advised masochism. Bibhuti Nayak's next record attempt - to have fifty baseball bats broken over his body - will set the seal on a career that has seen him rise from poverty to become a minor celebrity in a nation where standing out from the crowd requires tenacity, courage and perhaps a touch of madness. In answering Bibhuti's call for assistance, John hopes to rewrite a brave end to a life poorly lived. But as they take their leap of faith together, and John is welcomed into Bibhuti's family, and into the colour and chaos of Mumbai - where he encounters ping-pong-playing monks, a fearless seven-year-old martial arts warrior and an old man longing for the monsoon to wash him away - he learns more about life, and death, and everything in between than he could ever have bargained for.
An unforgettable story of faith, forgiveness and second chances, Man on Fire is a powerful and touching novel from the Booker and Guardian-shortlisted author of Pigeon English
Pigeon English is a book to fall in love with: a funny book, a true book, a shattering book ...not only for its appealing tone, but for its courage and boldness Erica Wagner, The Times The humour, the resilience, the sheer ebullience of its narrator - a hero for our times - should ensure [Pigeon English] becomes, deservedly, a classic Daily Mail Pigeon English paints a vivid portrait with honesty, sympathy and wit ... It is horrifying, tender and funny ***** Daily Telegraph Simultaneously accurate and fantastical, this boy's love letter to the world made me laugh and tremble all the way through. Pigeon English is a triumph Emma Donoghue, author of Room
Stephen Kelman was born in Luton in 1976. Pigeon English, his first novel, was shortlisted for the 2011 Man Booker Prize, the Desmond Elliott Prize and the Guardian First Book Award, and he was also shortlisted for the New Writer of the Year Award at the 2011 Galaxy National Book Awards. Pigeon English is a set text on the GCSE syllabus. Stephen lives in St Albans.