In small town suburbia, three young men are ready to make their mark.
Solomon is all charisma, authority and charm, down for the moment but surely not out. His half-brother, Jimmy, bounces along in his wake, underestimated, waiting for his chance to announce himself. Aleks, their childhood friend, loves his mates, his family and his homeland, and would do anything for them. The question is, does he know where to draw the line?
Solomon, Jimmy and Aleks: way out on the fringe of Australia, looking for a way in. Hip hop and graffiti give them a voice. Booze, women and violence pass the time while they wait for their chance. Under the oppressive summer sun, their town has turned tinder-dry. All it'll take is a spark.
As the surrounding hills roar with flames, the change storms in. But it's not what they were waiting for. It never is.
'This stunning debut novel has such swaggering exuberance that it will make most other fiction you read this year seem criminally dull. You have been warned.' Irvine Welsh
'Omar Musa's writing is tough and tender, harsh and poetic, raw and beautiful, it speaks to how we live and dream now. This novel broke my heart a little but it also made me ecstatic at the possibilities of what the best writing can do. His voice is genuine, new and exciting; his voice roars.' Christos Tsiolkas
'A muscular examination of dislocation and disempowerment among the lives of Australian youths on the edge of mainstream society … Musa's blending of poetry and prose is refreshing … [His] descriptions, polished by his own ventures into hip-hop and songwriting, are at once tender, beautiful, gritty and raw … It is his voice, lyrical and incendiary, that will rise and soar.' The Guardian (Australia)
'Musa's writing is neat, compelling, and engaging … This talented wordsmith is really hitting his stride.' Adelaide Advertiser
'Possessed of an originality and daring that does not mind nearing the reckless … A striking debut.' Canberra Times
'Here Come the Dogs both entertains and assaults, filling gaps in a national literature that's too complacent, and too narrow … Musa has true poetic chops. He is also a fine observer, meticulous about chronicling rarely written aspects of the world … Debut novels often come with an implicit caveat: this is a writer to watch, someone who brings a fresh voice at the expense of form. Musa is better than that. It's a big, bad book that promises the world, then burns it all joyously down.' Saturday Paper
'It's his mixture of the harsh and the tender that gives Musa's prose an unpredictable tension … [he] is not afraid of emotion.' Saturday Age
'An ambitious, powerful and exciting debut.' Men's Style
'Musa is a trailblazing literary talent, using visceral language that jumps off the page like rapid fire.' Yen
'Musa infuses his debut with [a] kind of energy rarely seen.' Sydney Morning Herald
This gritty, energetic debut novel comes from Malaysian Australian hip-hop artist and poet Musa. Three childhood friends who live and carouse in Australia's blue-collar suburbs spend a long, hot summer getting their adult acts together. Aleks Janeski, married with children, is a violent petty criminal/enforcer who works a legitimate day job as a house painter and longs for returning with his family to his Macedonia homeland. A high school basketball star before an injury cut his playing career short, Solomon Amosa is an underemployed Samoan dishwasher who loves to party while he keeps his interests alive in his favorite sport. Solomon's erratic half-brother, Jimmy Amosa, works at a public service call-in center, dreams of purchasing a Dodge muscle car, and indulges his strong passion for hip-hop music. The friends like to hang out and do things like paint artful graffiti on public walls, but Aleks's strong-arm crimes catch up to him. He serves two months of prison time, during which Solomon refuses to come and visit him. The friends are dramatically shown going in their separate directions, and, unfortunately, not all of their choices are productive ones. Musa narrates large portions of his story in accessible hip-hop lyrics, lending his novel its edgy, contemporary flavor. This is fully realized depiction of how art and life inform each other.
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Being a hip hop head I was drawn to this due to all the references. Here Come the Dogs was really well written. Some excellent imagery and powerful poetry make this a pleasure to read. Musa deals with some extremely relevant themes in his portrayal of life in a suburban Australian landscape.
I'm going to download Panang now. Omar is a real talent.