Growing up in 70s Brighton, teenager Naseem (Naz)’s life is made hell by his father, a moody, bitter, often violent man, disappointed at what life has brought him and envious of his son’s youth and freedom. Inspired by his favourite teacher, Mr ‘Easy’ Easton, Naz escapes from a reality he has little control over by reading books. But with the onset of adolescence, new possibilities start to arise, and Naz begins a journey of discovery. With new friends and interests – fashion, music, girls – he begins to taste a freedom he’s never known. But as Naz moves further from his family, conflict is inevitable.
The teen novel kicks off in Brighton 1962. Cool records and sharp fashions form the backdrop sounds and sights to this story of 15-yearold Naseem Al Yawar (‘Naz’), a young man on the verge of adulthood and heading for his first experience of love. Naz is a typical foul-mouthed, disaffected teenage boy, bright but with no interest in school apart from a love of literature instilled in him by an inspirational teacher, Mr Easton – nicknamed ‘Easy Easton’. The latter encourages Naz to write, directing him to read many authors including Henry Miller and John Steinbeck . Raymond Chandler is a particular favourite: ‘I love his crispness and gusty dialogue,’ says Naz. The world is opening up for Naz, but his Arab father – a moody, bitter man – is disappointed at what life has brought him and envious of his son’s youth and freedom.