April 1st 2006
256 pages
B-Format Jacketed Paperback Original
0 9547913 8 X


Buy Now Price £7.99

Shawnie is the story of the Brewer family – Ma Lisa, brother Jason and daughter Shawnie, plus Lisa’s so-called lover Steve. Over the course of an intense summer, they each tell their own off-kilter version of events. Shawnie, just 13, dreams of a normal life: a lock on the bathroom door, clean clothes for school and no wild parties with her Ma as the star turn. A ‘diamond of a girl’, she tries to keep the family in order. But prostitution, drink and violence are eating away at them all, leading towards a horror that’s almost too much to bear.

‘Another outstanding urban fiction debut from Tindal Street. The family in Ed Trewavas’s novel make the cast of Shameless look like the Swiss Family Robinson; the teenage Jason makes Renton from Trainspotting look like Just William . . . Lisa, Shawnie and Jason tell their stories in an extraordinary argot. The novel is shockingly vivid but also bearable – entertaining even – thanks to the artifice of this technique. Trewavas’s characters demonstrate resilience and black humour that offer, amid hopeless degradation, glimmers of a redeeming human spirit


This is a story about the underclass, the forgotten, people who never have any hope of a decent life, because things were screwed up for them before they were born . . . Trewavas makes us feel sympathy towards these desperate characters . . . He allows them to speak in their own voices, showing himself the natural inheritor of 19th-century realist novelists . . . His harrowing tale undoubtedly has echoes of Zola’s L’Assommoir, with slow-witted, gentle, caring Shawnie a modern-day Gervaise. There are glimmers of light, even humour, and the whisper of the possibility of redemption

Times Literary Supplement

Brave and disturbing. This is a story of terrible sadness, written with rage and despair – but elevated by its focus on innocence besieged and, possibly, triumphant

Niall Griffiths

Tough, raw tale of domestic violence and sexual abuse accepted as the norm in this controversial novel. It is extraordinary stuff


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