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Londonstani
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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.

Reviews

In this black comedy about young Muslim, Sikh, and Hindu men in London, down-and-out teenager Jas negotiates the city's ethnically divided neighborhoods while trying to act tougher than he is. A debut by the 30-year-old director of the Financial Times's "Creative Business" section. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Artful, thought-provoking and strikingly inventive . . . An impressive, in some respects brilliant, first novel.
"Los Angeles Times"
The authors 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"
aArtful, thought-provoking and strikingly inventive . . . An impressive, in some respects brilliant, first novel.a
a "Los Angeles Times"
aThe authoras 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.a
a"The New York Times Book Review"
"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

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