This reading group guide for Forest Gate includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Peter Akinti. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.
Set in the slums of contemporary London, Forest Gate
chronicles the lives of the dual narrators—James and Armeina—in the wake of a double suicide attempt which James survives but Ashvin, Armeina’s brother, does not. Through the heart-wrenchingly human voices of Armeina and James, we learn about the extraordinarily sad family history of both narrators. Armeina, called Meina, was forced to flee Somalia with her brother Ashvin after the two witnessed the brutal murder of their intellectual parents by Ethiopian soldiers. Meina and Ashvin, with the help of their white benefactor Mr. Bloom, move to the ‘estates’ of London where they meet James, the youngest of six warlord and drug dealing brothers and the son of a crack-addicted mother. James and Meina are brought together by the tragedy of Ashvin’s death and James’ survival and fall in love in the shadow of their shared sorrow. Poignant and breathtaking, tragic and captivating, Forest Gate
takes the reader on