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42

E

UR

A

MERICA

the Edge of Town,” Hanif Kureishi “probably ranks the best-

known documenter of suburban Asian London, particularly in his

debut 1970s-set novel

The Buddha of Suburbia

(1990),” successive

writers, such as Nirpal Dhaliwal in

Tourism

(2006), Nikesh Shukla

in

Coconut Unlimited

(2010), and Gautam Malkani in

Londonstani

(2006a), are given credit for showing “multiple versions of Asian

suburbia” (Huq, 2012: 7, 9). While depicting suburban Asian

London, these novels, on the one hand, subvert “the usual

stereotypical depiction” of the suburb as “boring, white and

middle-aged,” and, on the other hand, by focusing on

second-generation South Asian diaspora, they “place youth culture

and the city’s outer limits at their centre, thus revisiting familiar

themes of identity, migration and diaspora” (Huq, 2012: 10).

Among the post-Kureishi novels that depict suburban Asian

London, Malkani’s

Londonstani

was a “much-anticipated debut”

well before its release (Clark, 2005). The novel is reported to have

“gripped many editors amid the clamour of the recent Frankfurt

Book Fair” in 2005 because of its “freshness and urgency” (Rickett,

2005). Dubbed the “new Zadie/Monica” and the “Muslim Irvine

Welsh,” Malkani is said to have received a six-figure advance from

the publisher, Fourth Estate, who was eager to secure the

manuscript, as it believed that the novel “‘catapults you into a

world you’ve never read about in fiction before’” (Sethi, 2005).

Although the novel ended up not selling as well as the publisher

expected, in more recent reviews, it is argued that it is “more

representative of current demographic trends than the usual

inner-city=[sic] ethnic area clichés” because it narrates a tale “from

the outer reaches,” namely suburbia, which “many second

generation Asians

the children of suburbia

have actively

chosen” “as their residential location on becoming adults

themselves” (Huq, 2012: 12). Centered on second- and

third-generation Indian British youths, the novel is set in the ethnic

enclave of Hounslow, West London, where the author, who is of

Indian origin, was locally born and raised. Close to London’s