'Londonstani', Gautam Malkani's electrifying debut, reveals a Britain that has never before been explored in the novel: a country of young Asians and white boys (desis and goras) trying to work out a place for themselves in the shadow of the divergent cultures of their parents' generation.
Set close to the Heathrow feed roads of Hounslow, Malkani shows us the lives of a gang of four young men: Hardjit the ring leader, a Sikh, violent, determined his caste stay pure; Ravi, determinedly tactless, a sheep following the herd; Amit, whose brother Arun is struggling to win the approval of his mother for the Hindu girl he has chosen to marry; and Jas who tells us of his journey with these three, desperate to win their approval, desperate too for Samira, a Muslim girl, which in this story can only have bad consequences.
Together they cruise the streets in Amit's enhanced Beemer, making a little money changing the electronic fingerprints on stolen mobile phones, a scam that leads them into more dangerous waters. Funny, crude, disturbing, written in the vibrant language of its protagonists - a mix of slang, Bollywood, texting, Hindu and bastardised gangsta rap - 'Londonstani' is about many things: tribalism, aggressive masculinity, integration, cross-cultural chirpsing techniques, the urban scene seeping into the mainstream, bling bling economics, 'complicated family-related shit'.
It is one of the most surprising British novels of recent years.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 384 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication Date: 02/04/2007
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780007231768
Showing 1 - 1 of 1 reviews.
Review by milti
An interesting look into London's dark side, sort of on the lines of Martin Amis. But I did not like the ending of the novel. I thought the ending was contrived - the descent into big city mafia type shenanigans was too much to believe, and I didn;t know what to make of the final confession. It is a good piece of writing, but one must question how authentic the portrayal of the rudeboy really is coming from a clean-cut, well-to-do London professional such as Malkani, who is allegedly the epitome of everything he mocks in the novel.