book cover of My Once Upon a Time

My Once Upon a Time

A novel by

'My pulse quickened as I approached the bridges... a couple took you east, into the old city, but most took you to the end - or the beginning, you understand, from my direction - of the west'

Boy, although his origins are mysterious, hails from the southside of the city, a London some time in the near future which has become polarised by class, wealth and race. A private eye by trade, he is set a task by a mysterious client, seven days in which to find the perfect bride. Who will fit the shoe?

A knight on a quest, Boy drives the highways in his battered ride, from the gated wealth of the west to the low-lying arches and sprawling estates of the south. All roads lead to the legendary Race Man. Diran Adebayo sets his modern day fable against a noirish cityscape lit by the colours and argot of its inhabitants.

Originally published in 2000, this is a novel of remarkable prescience, anticipating the evolution of London into the great multicultural mega-city that it has become.

Praise for My Once Upon a Time:

'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 ... an urban novel of considerable style and impact' - The Times

'Adebayo's work makes its own world while never losing the hard edges of everyday life. His language has a conversational suppleness which can accommodate 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

'Garlanded with awards for his first book Some Kind of Black, with his second, the young British novelist Diran Adebayo confirms his promise as a writer of vibrant originality ... This is a book that sings: its prose a giddy mixture of English and patois, Runyonesque flights of descriptive fantasy and the musical cadences of street-slang, is by turns rhapsodic, exhilarating and poignant ... Adebayo is a real find, My Once Upon a Time is a tale for our times' - Mick Brown, Daily Telegraph

'My Once Upon a Time is a contemporary parable in a league of its own' - The Voice

'This is a very bold work. It is, as the title suggests, a story about storytelling as well as a thriller' - Independent on Sunday

'A joy - confident and swinging. The contemporary English novel needs more Diran Adebayos' - Literary Review

'Boasting all the vibrant wit, imagination and emotion of a true classic' - Straight No Chaser

Born in London to Nigerian parents in 1968, Diran Adebayo has been hailed as one of the most original literary talents of his generation. His first novel, the acclaimed Some Kind of Black, broke new literary ground for the London novel and won him the 1995 Saga Prize, a Betty Trask Award, the Authors' Club Best First Novel Award, and the Writers Guild's New Writer of the Year Award for 1996. He has also written stories for BBC TV and Radio, been a columnist for New Nation newspaper, and is a contributor to many national newspapers, including The Guardian and The Independent. He teaches creative writing at Kingston University, is a leading commentator on race in Britain and supports Tottenham Hotspur.

Genre: Science Fiction

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