A summer of heavy metal, racial tension, and love? a stunning debut. From the mosh pit, to the barbeque pit. From the heavy metal rack in your record store to the beat-up metal lashed to the bike rack outside. A book about tenderness and adrenalin. A book about friendship and chainsaw guitars. Ladies and gentlemen, for those with the benefit of flash photography: Titanium Punch. Yashin Blake’s remarkable debut novel is an exquisitely wrought introduction to a cast of characters ? a world, in fact ? that until now had no literary voice. In Titanium Punch Issac ?Iqbal” Khan, a devout headbanger, comes of age in a summer of beer, bikes, concerts, camping, and love. It’s a breathless take on a young man in the midst of significant personal evolution, a man coming to terms with religious intolerance and subtle racism, with bad cops and hidden agendas. A man about to fall in love. Iqbal gives you a backstage pass to the shadowy world of underground music, opening up its racial, cultural, and sexual mix to the scrutiny of many who’d prefer not to acknowledge its existence and relevance. From Pantera to jazz, from the importance of heavy metal lyrics to watching your buddy’s back, Titanium Punch pulls no punches.
Yashin Blake is one of the many people you see on the subway wearing headphones, writing in a spiral notebook, or staring blankly at a stack of printed pages. A good portion of Titanium Punch was written between his downtown Toronto home and east end work place. A Literacy and Basic Skills Instructor at the Toronto East Detention Centre, Blake is inspired by a lifelong love of reading, and listening to heavy music by bands such as Unsane, Madball, and Motörhead.