A masterpiece reconstructing from the archive a moment of trauma in the Black British lived experience.
To be innocent is no guarantee of justice. So Mahmood Mattan begins to think, in Cardiff’s Tiger Bay in 1952. Mattan is many things: father, chancer, and sometimes petty thief; he is not, though, a murderer. The protagonist of Nadifa Mohamed’s latest novel, The Fortune Men, has been arrested and is put on trial for the brutal murder of a shopkeeper. If found guilty, he’ll be executed. Based on true events, Mohamed’s novel, set in the vibrant multicultural area of Tiger Bay abounding with Somali and West Indian sailors and Maltese businessmen, has caught the attention of this year’s Booker Prize judges, and has been longlisted for the award. If Mohamed, who also features in the latest WritersMosaic Guest edition, Commonworld, wins the prize, it’ll take pride of place on her mantelpiece with numerous honours for her previous novels, including a Betty Trask Prize and Somerset Maugham Award.