歐美研究季刊 第45卷第1期 Background Image
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home with his parents, tends to speak more standardized English,

the desi rudeboys in the novel use a hybrid form of language.

According to Sarah Brouillette, their hybrid language blends “foul

language, cockney slang (‘innuit’) and text-message shorthand (‘b’

for ‘be’ and ‘em’ for ‘them’)” and “in later pages incorporates

vocabulary and locution from a global hodgepoege of hip hop,

reggae, and South Asian street cultures” (2009: 3). Actually, it is

not uncommon to find subversive use of patois in post-World War

II Asian and Black British novels, such as Sam Selvon’s

The Lonely

Londoners

(1956) and Victor Headley’s

Yardie

(1992). Malkani’s

creation of the patois in this 21st-century urban fiction is, however,

unique in two aspects. First of all, instead of claiming authenticity

by mimicking realistically the way that Indian immigrants talk in

Britain, the urban creole in the novel is actually carefully

constructed by the novelist himself. The hybrid language is so

intricate that the novel provides a glossary in the end for the

reader’s reference. On his own website, Malkani explains his

reasons to construct hybrid language in the novel:

What I didn’t want to do was capture an exact picture of

the way people talk by writing it just as I was hearing it

[. . .] because slang changes all the time and words and

phrases would’ve been out of date by the time the book

was published (if it ever got published). Creating a kind of

futureproof, timeless slang

instead of taking a snapshot

at any particular moment in time

basically meant taking

popular words from different years that have already stood

the test of time and then stitching them together. [. . .] So,

just, like every other aspect of the characters’ identities,

their seemingly random slang is actually carefully

constructed and contrived. (2009)

This “linguistic performance,” to quote Graham (2008b: para. 19),

adds another dimension of inauthenticity to the novel. Most

obviously, it echoes the inauthentic identities of the desi characters

as well as the inauthentic ghetto that the rudeboys pretend to

inhabit, and that certain race-biased reviewers expect the enclave