Contemporary Fictions of Multiculturalism Diversity and the Millennial London Novel

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2014-10-17
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

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London is one of the most diverse cities in human history. While its multicultural character has been widely celebrated in recent decades – by writers of fiction as much as by anyone – more recently multiculturalism has been said to have 'failed', or to have never really existed in the first place. How have recent works of fiction engaged with London's multiculturalism, and could that multiculturalism itself be regarded as a kind of 'fiction'?

This study analyses a number of key contemporary texts (including Brick Lane, White Teeth and Pigeon English) that engage with questions about ethnic and cultural diversity in London. It argues that in recent years the most successful and engaging works of literature about the city have attempted to assert its diversity as undeniable whilst also challenging the notion that London is an inclusive utopia which offers sanctuary and prosperity to its migrants.

Author Biography

Michael Perfect is an independent scholar based in London, UK. His main research and teaching interests are in 20th and 21st century literature and culture. He has published journal articles and book chapters on contemporary British literature and postcolonial studies and has taught at the University of Cambridge, where he obtained his PhD in 2011.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Backgrounds: Facts and Fictions of Multicultural London
1. Multiculturalism and the Work of Hanif Kureishi
2. 'Fold the paper and pass it on': Andrea Levy's London Fiction
3. Multicultural London in Zadie Smith's White Teeth: a Celebration of Unpredictability and Uncertainty?
4. Permanence and Transience: Monica Ali's Brick Lane (2003) and In The Kitchen (2009)
5. Mis-marketing Multiculturalism? Gautam Malkani's Londonstani (2006)
6. London as a Safe Haven? Asylum, Immigration and Missing Fingers in Chris Cleave's The Other Hand (2008) and Brian Chikwava's Harare North (2009)
7. London as a 'Brutal', 'Hutious' City: Stephen Kelman's Pigeon English (2011)
8. Coda: The Prophet's Graveyard

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