Fast by the Horns

The hotly anticipated second novel from the prizewinning author of An Olive Grove in Ends

You must sign in to see if this title is available for request. Sign In or Register Now
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 9 May 2024 | Archive Date 23 May 2024
Headline | Wildfire

Talking about this book? Use #FastbytheHorns #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


From the Hawthornden Prize-winning author of An Olive Grove in Ends, a powerful story of broken dreams and divided loyalties

Bristol, 1980.
In the tight-knit neighbourhood of St. Pauls, 14-year-old Jabari is proud of his position as the only son of revered community leader Ras Levi. Raised in a world of sus laws and council neglect, Jabari finds hope in his Rastafari faith, which offers the comforting vision that one day he and his fellow believers will repatriate to the motherland, where they will at last be free from oppression and prejudice.

But in St Pauls a local firebrand activist has been arrested, and violence soon overflows, pulling both father and son into its maelstrom. As Jabari rages against the iniquity, a chance encounter with a young Black child gifts him an opportunity for justice - or is it revenge?

Praise for An Olive Grove in Ends:

'Tough yet tender' Observer - 10 Best Debut Novelists of 2022
''Luminous' Cherie Jones
'Moses' talent is off the scale' Donal Ryan
'Remarkable' Nathan Harris
'Consummately crafted' Patrick McCabe

From the Hawthornden Prize-winning author of An Olive Grove in Ends, a powerful story of broken dreams and divided loyalties

Bristol, 1980.
In the tight-knit neighbourhood of St. Pauls, 14-year-old...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781472283160
PRICE £20.00 (GBP)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (PDF)
Send to Kindle (PDF)
Download (PDF)

Average rating from 9 members

Featured Reviews

Fast By The Horns is the new novel by Moses McKenzie. His debut, An Olive Grove in Ends, was a Guardian Novel of the Year in 2022 and shortlisted for the Writers' Guild Best First Novel Award 2023. He was named one of The Observer's 10 Must-Read Debut Novelists of 2022, and won the inaugural Soho House Breakthrough Writer Award the same year. That expectation is high for his second is an understatement.

It is my pleasure to say that this is a superb novel. Set in Bristol, and written in Rastafari patois, this novel is a thrilling read. The voice grabs you, pulls you in, and shows you a world. I haven't yet read his debut, but I've just gone and bought it, such was the power of this novel.

Thank you to the publishers and Netgalley for the ARC.

Was this review helpful?

Breathtaking….. a powerful story of broken dreams and divided loyalti…
This book is a show stopper - one I would give to my friends.
Five stars from me

Was this review helpful?

Fast By The Horns is set in the Bristol neighbourhood of St. Pauls in 1980. It focuses on Jabari, the 14-year-old only son of the Rasafarian community leader Ras Levi. He exists in a clearly very close-knit community, but one that is constantly beaten down by corrupt policing and lack of council investment. Ras Levi and his fellow Rastafarians in the community, including of course Jabari, dream of repatriation to the Ethiopian motherland, though others in the community mock their ambitions and urge them to engage with the political realities of life in the UK. Amidst the violence and daily struggles with police brutality, Jabari's encounter with a young girl formerly from St. Pauls, who we find has been placed in the care of a white family in a neighbouring affluent area, provides a tender and emotional thread at the centre of the novel.

It's a book with a lot to recommend it. Foremost is its vividly evoked sense of place and time. We're thrown headlong into a world with its own codes and language, with the vast majority of the novel written in Rastafarian patois. It takes a bit of time to adjust to, but ultimately makes for an incredibly immersive reading experience. Within the community there's a richly rendered web of complex relationships, typically blending both a strong sense of community support with an exploration of the conflicts that exist despite this, both within families and between the different elements of the community.

Alongside Jabari and his father's Rastafarian community, we encounter a group of feminist activists who run a local community centre and contain within their ranks those seeking to affect change by potentially violent protest; and elsewhere within the community we find youths engaging with familiar 'melting pot' ska/two-tone subcultures of the era (very familiar to this white British reader, but viewed with a special kind of disdain by Jabari).

There are some shocking, if sadly unsurprising, moments dotted through the book, the recurring theme being the inevitability of victimisation, targeting and straight-up abuse at the hands of the police, who are depicted without exception as cackling and heartless grotesques. The shock here is less the reality of their racist actions, and more the sadness of the way the St Pauls residents have to submit to this relentless humiliation (as well as the anger, of course, in the knowledge that this sort of thing continues relatively undiminished some forty years later). The treatment of Ras Levi at the police's hands is, however, on another level and a hugely powerful depiction of a brazen act of brutal humiliation that stands out even in a novel filled with similar tragedies.

There's also a lot of love and tenderness on display in here too, in the community bonds, in the relationship between Jabari and his friend Makeda, and in their determination to help the young girl. It's a novel in which hope plays a big role, albeit a hope that is often frustrated and occasionally brutally crushed. As a result it's also a novel full of righteous anger, which carries you along, reading in a kind of rage and despair. It's a complex book with no obvious solutions or conclusions to its ongoing issues, but with a huge amount to chew on.

This is a compelling, exciting work by a young author who is already making serious waves and likely to play a serious role in British literature in the years to come. He's already expressed determination to be seen alongside 'the greats' (for him, that's the likes of James Baldwin and Maya Angelou) and at the moment anything seems possible for McKenzie.


Was this review helpful?

An absolute show-stopper of a novel. I loved every single page and I have to say that I am extremely sad its over. Moses Mckenzie is truly an author to look out for. 5/5

Was this review helpful?

A lyrical immersion into the Rastafarian community of 1980s Bristol, Moses McKenzie’s follow up to An Olive Grove in Ends does not disappoint. Jabari is a sympathetic protagonist who struggles with his father’s high expectations and tries to do what he thinks is right for Irie. I loved the patois.

Was this review helpful?

Fast by the Horns by Moses McKenzie is a striking and powerful work of fiction. 1980, St.Paul’s Bristol, fourteen year old Jabari is son of the prominent leader Ras Levi. Jabari has been in raised in a world of sus law and council neglect. In the face of oppression and prejudice he finds hope in his Rastafari faith with the belief that one day he and his fellow believers will repatriate to the motherland. However, when a local activist is arrested, a catalyst of action and violence threatens the very balance of his community and his family, as father and son are drawn into its path. Jabari’s chance encounter with a young Black child gives him the opportunity for his own form of justice or is it revenge? The book is fast paced and engaging the more I read the deeper I was swept into the story and invested in the outcomes of the characters. The book is written in Rastafari patois which gave the story an individual rhythm and deep connection to the language of the characters. This story is a remarkable example of how impactful writing can be many things at once, tender and fierce, sharp and sensitive. It is a dynamic and luminous read from a young and talented writer whose work I will read more of 4.25 Stars ✨.

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: