Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Artful, thought-provoking and strikingly inventive . . . An impressive, in some respects brilliant, first novel."
- Los Angeles Times
"The author's tenderness for his characters redeems them into likeability; his care for detail makes his depiction of the Hounslow rude-boy scene both hilarious and convincing."
-The New York Times Book Review
Malkanis extraordinary debut novel portrays the lives of young Muslim, Sikh, and Hindu men in the ethnically challenged enclave of one of the biggest cities in the West--London.
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. He completed Londonstani shortly after the bombings in London last July.