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Londonstani: A Novel

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Londonstani: A Novel Cover

ISBN13: 9781594200977
ISBN10: 1594200971
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Out of London, a new and young comic voice whose rendering of the serious business of immigration and assimilation is both hilarious and mind altering.

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.

Review:

"Malkani's debut novel is set among the South Asian rudeboys of London's Houndslow section. Aimless, middle-class 19-year-old Jas is adopted by a small gang headed by Hardjit, a Sikh bodybuilder, that includes sexual braggart Ravi and Hindu nationalist Amit. The crew, with Jas in the backseat, ride around a lot in a Beamer and say things like, 'Dat bitch b trouble, u get me?' To make money, they unblock stolen cell 'fones.' This attracts Sanjay, a Desi entrepreneur who hires them and organizes their activities. Briefly, the money rolls in, and Jas, taken under Sanjay's wing, makes the more hazardous move of courting the beauteous but Muslim Samira Ahmed. Hardjit's feeling about Muslims and Samira's brothers' feeling about Hindus mean that disaster starts mounting for Jas before you can hum a chorus of West Side Story. Malkani, who is director of the Financial Times's Creative Business section, follows such masters of the London subcultural slumming sendup as Martin Amis and Will Self, but this book doesn't have the verbal gear to keep up; Jas's strained, graffiti-like teen talk is wearying (as is a major plot point centered on the EU's value added tax) and never rises to the kind of Burroughsian lyricism one is hoping for. And a final twist on race isn't much of a surprise. (June 26)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"'Hear wat my bredren b sayin, sala kuta?'

Told in a dizzying patois that borrows from British street slang, Punjabi, text-messaging shorthand and American hip-hop, Gautam Malkani's debut novel displays all the bravado of his swaggering young protagonists. The in-your-face language of 'Londonstani' promises that, despite its roots in the author's Cambridge dissertation, its portrait of British... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"It's the juxtaposition of...deeply serious subject matter and supremely funny dialog that makes Londonstani an exceptional book." Library Journal

Review:

"A promising debut." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Hilarious and grim, raucous and anguished....[T]he surprising climax makes you go back for a gripping second read." Booklist

Review:

"London's second-generation Asians are given the Trainspotting treatment in this slang-driven first novel." New Yorker

Review:

"[A] more-than-respectable first effort from a young writer....Flawed, but compelling, Londonstani might have been better marketed to older teens than adults. They'd certainly struggle less with the language." Cleveland Plain Dealer

Review:

"For every moment that Londonstani transports you right into the upstairs room of a Hounslow semi-detached...there are several where Malkani...tells us too much." Minneapolis Star Tribune

Review:

"One wishes that Malkani had trusted himself and his material more; his writing achieves moments of real verve and power that suggest he doesn't need all the bluster and flash on which his anxious rudeboys rely." The Washington Post Book World

Synopsis:

Gautan Malkani's extraordinary debut comic novel portrays the lives of young Musilm, Sikh, and Hindu men in the ethnically challenged 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 phone (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 the modern melting pot, race is no more than a proxy for masculinity, or lack of masculinity, among young men struggling to get by in a remorseless, callous city. Just as a Martin Amis and Irving Welsh captured the mood and the ethos of the Eighties and Nineties, 29-year-old Malkani brilliantly evokes the life of immigrants who are not immigrants in Londonstani, bringing an entirely fresh perspective to contemporary fiction in the process.

Synopsis:

A talented new writer whose portrayal of the serious business of assimilation and young masculinity is disturbing and hilarious

Hailed as one of the most surprising British novels in recent years, Gautam Malkani's electrifying debut reveals young South Asians struggling to distinguish themselves from their parents' generation in the vast urban sprawl that is contemporary London. Chronicling the lives of a gang of four young middle-class men-Hardjit, the violent enforcer; Ravi, the follower; Amit, who's struggling to come to terms with his mother's hypocrisy; and Jas, desperate to win the approval of the others despite lusting after Samira, a Muslim girl-Londonstani, funny, disturbing, and written in the exuberant language of its protagonists, is about tribalism, aggressive masculinity, integration, alienation, bling-bling economics, and "complicated family-related shit."

About the Author

Gautam Malkani was born in West London in 1976. He was educated at Cambridge University and was appointed director of the Financial Times's Creative Business section in 2005.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

rocosgrove, October 19, 2006 (view all comments by rocosgrove)
First off, you folks need to rewrite your description of the book in order not to show that you didn't bother to read it.

The book is timely, engaging and absorbing. It could be set in any urban center because it deals with the never changing concerns of young men as they address identity, parents and work.

If modern England appeals to you, this book is well worth a read.
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(3 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9781594200977
Author:
Malkani, Gautam
Publisher:
Penguin Books
Subject:
Humorous
Subject:
England
Subject:
Young men
Subject:
Men's Adventure
Subject:
Adventure
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
July 2006
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
9.56x6.38x1.10 in. 1.31 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Humor » General
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Adventure

Londonstani: A Novel Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Penguin Press - English 9781594200977 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Malkani's debut novel is set among the South Asian rudeboys of London's Houndslow section. Aimless, middle-class 19-year-old Jas is adopted by a small gang headed by Hardjit, a Sikh bodybuilder, that includes sexual braggart Ravi and Hindu nationalist Amit. The crew, with Jas in the backseat, ride around a lot in a Beamer and say things like, 'Dat bitch b trouble, u get me?' To make money, they unblock stolen cell 'fones.' This attracts Sanjay, a Desi entrepreneur who hires them and organizes their activities. Briefly, the money rolls in, and Jas, taken under Sanjay's wing, makes the more hazardous move of courting the beauteous but Muslim Samira Ahmed. Hardjit's feeling about Muslims and Samira's brothers' feeling about Hindus mean that disaster starts mounting for Jas before you can hum a chorus of West Side Story. Malkani, who is director of the Financial Times's Creative Business section, follows such masters of the London subcultural slumming sendup as Martin Amis and Will Self, but this book doesn't have the verbal gear to keep up; Jas's strained, graffiti-like teen talk is wearying (as is a major plot point centered on the EU's value added tax) and never rises to the kind of Burroughsian lyricism one is hoping for. And a final twist on race isn't much of a surprise. (June 26)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "It's the juxtaposition of...deeply serious subject matter and supremely funny dialog that makes Londonstani an exceptional book."
"Review" by , "A promising debut."
"Review" by , "Hilarious and grim, raucous and anguished....[T]he surprising climax makes you go back for a gripping second read."
"Review" by , "London's second-generation Asians are given the Trainspotting treatment in this slang-driven first novel."
"Review" by , "[A] more-than-respectable first effort from a young writer....Flawed, but compelling, Londonstani might have been better marketed to older teens than adults. They'd certainly struggle less with the language."
"Review" by , "For every moment that Londonstani transports you right into the upstairs room of a Hounslow semi-detached...there are several where Malkani...tells us too much."
"Review" by , "One wishes that Malkani had trusted himself and his material more; his writing achieves moments of real verve and power that suggest he doesn't need all the bluster and flash on which his anxious rudeboys rely."
"Synopsis" by , Gautan Malkani's extraordinary debut comic novel portrays the lives of young Musilm, Sikh, and Hindu men in the ethnically challenged 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 phone (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 the modern melting pot, race is no more than a proxy for masculinity, or lack of masculinity, among young men struggling to get by in a remorseless, callous city. Just as a Martin Amis and Irving Welsh captured the mood and the ethos of the Eighties and Nineties, 29-year-old Malkani brilliantly evokes the life of immigrants who are not immigrants in Londonstani, bringing an entirely fresh perspective to contemporary fiction in the process.
"Synopsis" by ,
A talented new writer whose portrayal of the serious business of assimilation and young masculinity is disturbing and hilarious

Hailed as one of the most surprising British novels in recent years, Gautam Malkani's electrifying debut reveals young South Asians struggling to distinguish themselves from their parents' generation in the vast urban sprawl that is contemporary London. Chronicling the lives of a gang of four young middle-class men-Hardjit, the violent enforcer; Ravi, the follower; Amit, who's struggling to come to terms with his mother's hypocrisy; and Jas, desperate to win the approval of the others despite lusting after Samira, a Muslim girl-Londonstani, funny, disturbing, and written in the exuberant language of its protagonists, is about tribalism, aggressive masculinity, integration, alienation, bling-bling economics, and "complicated family-related shit."

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