Joe Pemberton

forever and ever amen

The Book

Critical attention for Forever and Ever Amen. This is a story that should be told and here is a fresh new voice to tell it. - Hilary Mantel Excels at capturing the texture of its times. - The Sunday Express   A magical depiction of a Moss Side childhood, with more musical numbers than The Wizard of Oz. - The Times   An unusually intelligent and beautiful childhood memoir set in Manchester’s Moss Side at the end of the sixties… Forever and Ever Amen describes the adventures of nine-year-old James, in the month before his family move “up in the world” to Ashton-under-Lyne. The young hero’s vivid imagination blends reality with dreams, nightmares and fantasy, creating a world of bright colour, sensory delight and innocent glee… The real delight is Pemberton’s easy musical prose. Mundane episodes are twisted through James’ eyes into fantastic Hollywood adventures and the dialogue sparkles with natural wit… Much of the charm of the novel is in its innocence and lack of cynicism. - The Big Issue in the North   ‘There are many good reasons to read this book, not least for its insights into a community still little understood in Britain, and a portrait of Moss Side far removed from its usual “guns ‘n’ gangs” image. Pemberton’s real gift, though, is his evocation of childhood, comical yet never patronising, instantly recognisable to anybody, of whatever culture. Sense of place is strong, and yet the end result is a kind of Mancunian magic realism, strange but familiar, able to hint at large themes even in a small-scale or domestic setting. And best of all, it’s very very funny.’ - Third Alternative. Dr Corinne Fowler has a paper on Forever and Ever Amen. Dr Fowler’s essay, entitled ‘A tale of two novels: Developing a ‘devolved’ approach to black British writing’, a critical study of the contrasting fortunes between Forever and Ever Amen and Zadie Smith’s White Teeth - (Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Sept 2008).

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