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residents are desis who appear to have lived in this suburban area

of London for generations. And yet, instead of empowering the

South Asian diaspora by observing the dichotomy between the

majority and the minority, and that between the dominant and the

dominated, the novel suggests a move beyond the assimilationist

melting pot model, which is often adopted by mainstream white

British society to assimilate the ethnic minority groups. More

significantly, unlike some critics “who are intent on dismissing any

notion of segregation as a problem and seem to see almost any

discussion of segregation as part of ‘the myth and the litany’ about

race and immigration” (Cantle, 2012: 59), Malkani’s novel makes

an attempt to understand the reasons that particular groups

congregate in housing and other terms, and the assets that such

ethnic concentrations may bring to urban vitality.

It is paradoxically through representing the changing identities

by which the desi characters identify themselves and others in the

ethnic enclave, that the novel echoes the “failure” of multicultural

policies. The subtle arrangement of the novel in three parts

ordered in terms of “Paki,” “Sher,” and “Desi”

demonstrates the

political transition in Britain, where, following a number of race

riots in northern England in 2001, the concept of “community

cohesion” has been gradually developed in place of the

multicultural model as a way “to build understanding between

different groups and to build mutual trust and respect by breaking

down stereotypes and misconceptions about the ‘other’” (Cantle,

2012: 91). In “What’s right with Asian boys?,” Malkani compares

the three parts of the novel to the South Asian youth’s three-stage

evolution of identity-assertion:

And so the Asian boy as victim (represented by the word

“paki”) may have given way to the aggressor (represented

by the names of some gangs such as Shere Panjab, where

the word “Sher” translates as lions or tigers). And, in turn,

that may have led to a social equilibrium between victim

and aggressor implied by “desi.” (2006b)