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Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite
Lyrical, exciting, and utterly engrossing, The Streets Ain't Going Nowhere by Jamal Shakur is a character-driven story that explores the psychology and world of crime. The plot follows two compelling characters, Malik and Cos, who set out to run the drug business in the streets of Newark, New Jersey. The two are hustlers who are determined to establish their own empire in the drug business, but can they survive the streets? Can they outwit its cunning and escape its traps?
The narrative is pulsating and the prose is elegant and crisp, filled with many insightful passages and reflections on life. Right from the opening lines, as one of the key characters wakes up, the thought enters into his mind: “But some things are natural consequences of life, like the sun shining in his face breaking his sleep.” Jamal Shakur has a philosophical way of looking at life that compels the reader to reconsider reality. His characters are real, and their authenticity comes out neatly in the interesting dialogues, in the way they are developed, and in the overall realism that permeates each page of the narrative.
This is a novel that examines our choices and readers will love to watch as the characters are constrained to face the consequences of their own choices. The Streets Ain't Going Nowhere deals with the strong seduction of crime and what it takes to win in the streets, but it is also a multilayered story, filled with wit and symbolism. The narrative is strong, the prose compelling in itself, the conflict intense, and the characters crafted with depth. One of the best written books I have read most recently.