Author: Gautam Malkani
Publisher: Harper/Fourth Estate
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9780007231737
‘Londonstani’, Gautam Malkani's electrifying debut, exposes a city where young Asians struggle with white boys to assert their own, singular brands of Britishness.
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 for the approval of their devout Hindu mother for his Hindu bride-to-be; 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 on stolen mobile phones, a scam that leads them into more dangerous terrain.
Funny, crude, disturbing, written in the vibrant language of its protagonists – a mix of slang, texting, Panjabi and bastardized gangsta rap – Londonstani is about many things: tribalism, integration, cross-cultural chirpsing techniques, bling economics, 'complicated family-related shit'. It is one of the most surprising British novels of recent years.