Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Cultural Experience

I really enjoy reading books that delve into different places and cultures. People and places fascinate me; I absorb this type of information like a sponge (this may be why I enjoy traveling so much). So, when I picked up Londonstani by Gautam Malkani, I couldn't wait to read it. The book takes place in London (my favorite place in the world) and gives the reader insight into an Indian burrow of the city.

What struck me first was the writing. The author writes phonetically in order to give the reader the flavor of the characters' accents. It is almost similar to reading Tom Sawyer except instead we are following the trademark sound of a group of British-Indian players and small-time gangsters. I was drawn into the language and had it swimming in my head long after I finished reading a chapter.

The book paints a rich environment and landscape for its characters and gives you a true look at the way these boys are pushing societal bounds and questioning their parents in order to pass on to becoming men. They question their traditions, culture, and religion while going against the law to make a living.

I won't ruin the ending, but just know that the ending has a fantastic twist to it that made me want to read the book again and re-examine the way I looked at the main character, Jas. Mr. Malkani, whatever critics and other readers may most definitely should not have revealed the twist earlier in the book. It is beyond perfect, right where it is. This is a great book.

On the music front...I have been listening to The Ting Tings. A brit garage pop band, whose album just came stateside. I have been waiting quite impatiently for it to show up for about 3 months when I saw a little bit on them in Q Magazine.

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