By Michael Perfect
Contemporary Fictions of Multiculturalism analyses novels of the overdue twentieth and early twenty first centuries that discover ethnic and cultural range in London. It contributes to key, ongoing debates in literary and cultural reports and, specifically, to debates over the prestige and relevance of multiculturalism today.
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Extra resources for Contemporary Fictions of Multiculturalism: Diversity and the Millennial London Novel
This was all that there was, and all that could be. The best of everything had accumulated in this moment. It could only have been love. (p. 155) To Jay’s ‘I forget where we were, or even when it was’, we might add ‘or who you were’ or even ‘or who you are’; whether he is referring to Susan, Nina, his children, one of his friends or somebody not even mentioned elsewhere in the narrative is unclear, but there is also the possibility that this final description of an almost epiphanic ‘intimacy’ refers to the relationship between narrator/confessor and reader.
Perhaps London does not just contain plurality but is, itself, plural; perhaps, from Boudica to Boyle, London has never really been just ‘one’ place. 1 Multiculturalism and the Work of Hanif Kureishi For more than a quarter of a century Hanif Kureishi has been one of the most prominent and most important literary commentators on contemporary London. Indeed, Kureishi’s work has focused almost exclusively on the contemporary moment – to date all of his writing has been set in the late twentieth or early twenty-first century – and almost exclusively on London; the 2013 filmscript Le Week-End, set in Paris, and 2014 novel The Last Word, set in rural Somerset, are Kureishi’s first major works not to be set primarily in London.
We were dismissive and contemptuous of Thatcherism’ (p. 70). ‘We’ is here generational and political, inviting the reader to locate themselves within the pronoun. By the final paragraph of the novel, ‘we’ has become very much indeterminate: We walked together, lost in our own thoughts. I forget where we were, or even when it was. Then you moved closer, stroked my hair and took my hand; I know you were holding my hand and talking to me softly. Suddenly I had the feeling that everything was as it should be and nothing could add to this happiness or contentment.