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Samosa, tea and violence

British-Asian rudeboys get a voice in the novel Londonstani.


Then the reading of this summer's most important book is done – Londonstani by the British-Indian journalist Gautam Malkani. It caused a stir in the British media long before it was published, partly due to the struggle to get the rights to the script, which led to Malkani's bank account being able to receive around four million kroner in fees.

The book is not about militant Islamists who intend to take over London and turn the city into an Islamic state – the title can easily be misunderstood as such. Londonstani, however, is about second-generation British Asians in the Hounslow and Southall districts, a stone's throw from Heathrow Airport, where the vast majority of Asians who work at the airport come from. If you think Greenland is characterized by too much Asia, Hounslow and Southall can really give an experience of how real ghettos work – with a jumble of clothing stores, restaurants, eateries and fast food restaurants. The ghetto is not played here, Hounslow is a real commodity.

And so is Malkani's book, which begins with a fight taken out of Quentin Tarantino's bloody film universe, spiced with a racism you might not have thought Asians could not be. . .

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