It is 1981, factories are closing, unemployment is high, the NF are marching and the neglected inner cities are ablaze as riots breakout across Thatcher's fractured Britain.
The Agarwal family are facing their own personal tragedy, but their pain is eased through humour, friendship and community.
This novel's remarkable authenticity and triumphant spirit proves that there is such a thing as society, and given what is happening in this post Brexit era, we need it now, more than ever.
The book's author, Brighton based author Sharon Duggal, says:
"It is quite a special thing to know that people from all walks of life across the city where I live and work will be coming together to read my book, just as I have done with many previous City Reads selections.
"The Handsworth Times is ultimately a book about the hope we find in other people and it will be such a pleasure to have the opportunity to get out there and share the story with so many different people across this city via the inspired City Reads programme of events."
Kate Tempest the Guest Director of Brighton Festival 2017 has spoken about her passion for the arts and its power to bring communities together:
And in these times, with the fear spreading everywhere and the divisions between us deepening daily, we desperately need to remember that we are all part of the same thing.
The Handsworth Times
reminds us, that we are all part of the same thing, and there is a comfort in putting aside difference
and joining together in solidarity.
Andrew Comben, Chief Executive Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival says:
"That Sharon Duggal's powerful debut explores the importance of empathy and community is particularly fitting as a choice for City Reads which encourages readers to come together with the common purpose of reading and discussing their love of reading together.
"And with Kate Tempest at the helm as Guest Director this year, it is a theme which is central to her vision for the Festival as a whole."
City Reads launches across Brighton & Hove on 2nd March 2017. - Sharon Duggal - in conversation at Brighton Festival on 14th May 2017.. See cityreads.co.uk for more info.