Diran Adebayo
My Once Upon a Time
Published by Abacus (2000 / 2001)

A writer of vibrant originality…This is a book that sings…by turns rhapsodic, exhilarating and poignant. Adebayo is a real find, and My Once Upon a Time a magical fairy-tale for our times’
Sunday Telegraph

‘This is detective fiction with an atmosphere of fairly tale and dark echoes of the Old Testament and African myth. Adebayo’s work makes its own world while never losing the hard edges of everyday life. His language has a conversational suppleness which can accomodate pathos, bewilderment, and moments of beauty. The book keeps surprising, never easily giving up its answers or letting the reader settle… In the end you’re in another country and with the Gods’
Time Out

‘Boasting all the vibrant wit, imagination and emotion of a true classic, My Once Upon A Time effortlessly blends past myth with future realism in groundbreaking-style. Adebayo has created a Pilgrim’s Progress for our times.’
Straight No Chaser

Adebayo teases, provokes,entertains, alarms, frightens and delights.’
Literary Review

‘Gritty yet enchanting…a melting pot of voices talking in Jamaican patois, south London streetspeak and educated Englishman – are what makes this a work of art. Yet for all it’s lyrical , sometimes magical qualities, this work sings with reality. Adebayo has written an important novel. His fable tells some very real, untold stories’
Sunday Express

‘Adebayo orchestrates Boy’s encounters without the stock features of most gumshoe thrillers….My Once Upon a Time gets its kicks by flushing out the extraordinary from the ordinary. The lugubrious realities of city life imbue the narrative with a highly distinctive flavour which is enhanced by Adebayo’s fresh, idiosyncratic language. This is a very bold work. It is, as the title suggests, a story about storytelling as well as a thriller’
Independent on Sunday

‘My Once Upon a Time is not so much a novel subverting a tired genre as one that turns it on its head…His greatest asset, beyond his clinical observational skills, is a prose style built around the rhythms of black speech and music…Boy’s quest is engrossing, an urban fable of considerable style and impact’

About ‘My Once Upon A Time‘, on Old world black (African) versus New World Black, book covers and how to be a fetishist in two easy steps – click here to listen
Intro/ Outro. A mystery man – click here to listen
Outside da Club (‘Ice-Cream’) – click here to listen
Boy in the last-chance saloon (Music: Wu-Tang’s ‘Heaven and Hell’) – click here to listen

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