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Jas is in trouble. Because of who he is-an eighteen-year-old Asian living in London. Because of the gang he hangs out with. And because of the woman he fancies, Samira, who Jas shouldn't have taken a shining to because she is, as his pals point out, Continue
Jas is in trouble. Because of who he is-an eighteen-year-old Asian living in London. Because of the gang he hangs out with. And because of the woman he fancies, Samira, who Jas shouldn't have taken a shining to because she is, as his pals point out, not one of his own. He's in trouble because his education, never mind his career, is going nowhere. And he's fallen into the schemes, games and prejudices of his friends on the streets of the big western city in which he lives. But Jas's main trouble is Jas himself, and he doesn't even know the trouble he's in, and try as hard as he does, he's failing to make sense of what it is to be young, male and what you might say is Indostani in a city that professes to be a melting pot but is a city of racial and religious exclusion zones. Without his parents' aspirations to assimilate, without the gifts of his more academically accomplished contemporaries, Jas is a young man without a survival plan to get by in the big city. He's out of touch, an anachronism posing as young man who's up-to-date, living free-style, making things up as he goes along in suburbs of West London.
Gautam Malkani's extraordinary comic novel portrays the lives of young Muslim, Sikh, and Hindu men in the ethnically charged enclave of one of the biggest western cities, London. A world usually-but wrongly-portrayed as the breeding ground for Islamic militants is, in actuality, a world of money (sometimes), flash cars (usually), cell phones (all the time), rap music and MTV, as well as rivalries and feuds, and the small-time crooks who exploit them. In Malkani's hilarious depiction of multiculturalism, race is no more than a proxy for masculinity, or lack of masculinity, among young men struggling to get by in a remorseless city. Just as Martin Amis and Irving Welsh captured the mood and the ethos of the eighties and nighties, twenty-nine-year-old Gautam Malkani brilliantly evokes the life of immigrants who are not immigrants in Londonstani, bringing an entirely fresh perspective to contemporary fiction as he does so.