TVP World’s Benjamin Lee spoke to Gabriel Krauze, author of the Book of The Year spectator "Who They Was". Krauze grew up in London in a Polish family and was drawn to a life of crime and gangs from an early age. His writing explored the dark side of London, providing a thrilling yet bleak look at that world he had left behind.
The author talked about his vivid autobiographical novel about a young man caught between two cultures: the university where he studies English literature and the gang warfare world of London.
The two discuss why young men join gangs, and how a sterile, purposeless world can drive some people to seek out a more dangerous environment for purpose and grandeur.
Krauze critiqued the modern outlook on the origins of criminality, relegating it to easy tick boxes such as poverty, aggression, and the often overused term "toxic masculinity." He argues that the oversimplification of the issues that are often hard to discuss is an obstruction to a nuanced look at the truth.
“It might be hard to read, but I don’t do it for the shock value, I show the world for what it is, to do anything else would be contrived.”