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3.33  ·  Rating Details ·  1,280 Ratings  ·  168 Reviews
Jas is in trouble. Because of who he is-an eighteen-year-old Asian living in London. Because of the gang he hangs out with. And because of the woman he fancies, Samira, who Jas shouldn't have taken a shining to because she is, as his pals point out, not one of his own. He's in trouble because his education, never mind his career, is going nowhere. And he's fallen into the ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published June 22nd 2006 by Penguin Press (first published 2006)
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Jan 24, 2008 Sitaphul rated it liked it
Hmmm. Just finished the book and I'm pretty sure I don't like the ending, but I'm not 100% sure. Is it a lazy trick or is it an intriguing way to challenge authenticity? I mean, I thought the whole middle-class-rudebwoy-desi-male-angst thing was semi-interesting, althought I get tired of the insecure-male-identity-leads-to-misogynistic-expression-of-guarded-love-or-affection-for-woman-or-bitch vein of writing because, frankly, I'm a woman and I get it and I think it's stupid. I mean, constipated ...more
Mar 23, 2007 Maya rated it really liked it
Shelves: desireads
Also could be called "How an Interesting Book about Youth Counter Culture Became a Cheesy Thriller." I don't have the typical complaints about "Londonstani" - I'm actually okay with the "rudeboy" slang, I think the novel would not be nearly as convincing if Malkani wrote it in proper english. In fact I give him credit that he did his research (I once went to a reading by him and he definitely does not talk in rudeboy.) and had the patience and endurance to write most of his novel in slang. Also, ...more
Aug 30, 2016 Al rated it really liked it
I thought I had a grip on this. In many ways, a startling book. Loved, loved, the narrative !!
But the end???? Eh????? Did I misunderstand the whole farking book?????????
Natalia Pì
May 04, 2015 Natalia Pì rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: asia, uk
this was sometimes a hard read. especially at first the language influenced my opinion of the book, which is on the whole rather interesting. i think, though, that it could have been shorter, especially in the middle part, and sometimes the main character's monologues get to me, they're too long.
i suppose one of the problem is also that - obviously, due to the "rudeboy" topic, there's waaay to much testosterone in this book for me, topic-wise and also in the way people and things are described,
Jan 28, 2010 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although normally I hate dialect- I love London slang... innit? This book was great. Fun and exciting. I enjoyed learning all about Desi culture while traveling through India!
Apr 25, 2009 Peter rated it it was ok
Somewhat entertaining but, for the most part, unsatisfying—failing to be the exploration of multicultural identity heralded by its publishers.

The first pages made me fear I was embarking upon a pale imitation of Clockwork Orange—in which, rather than being immersed into a futuristic dystopia through a fully-imagined lexicon, I would glance along the surface of a London youth subculture through an often-awkward imitation of teen-speak. Even such a weak comparison to Burgess is inadequate, howeve
Aug 13, 2008 Krishna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 22, 2009 Dave rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Navdeep Singh Dhillon
Apr 15, 2011 Navdeep Singh Dhillon rated it did not like it
This is probably the worst book I have ever read in the entire world. I had to chuck that last bit in there to convey just how horrible I thought this book was. It is littered with overly stylized text message prose, like writing "R" instead of "are," and feels like you're having a conversation with someone with a mouth full of sunflower seeds that he keeps spitting as he speaks. The plot is absolutely tedious. Aside from the abysmal writing, the first major problem is that aside from a complete ...more
Jayne Charles
Apr 17, 2012 Jayne Charles rated it it was amazing
Set among the ‘rudeboys’ of London’s Asian community, this might look like a tough read – it’s written entirely in phonetic gangster-speak (notably the word ‘of’ is rendered as ‘a’ throughout) and there are some long, dense paragraphs to negotiate. It’s worth it though. The colloquial style reminded me of two of my favourite books, ‘Trainspotting’ and ‘Vernon God Little’. It immerses the reader in the sights and sounds of the characters’ pseudo-gangland world. It felt like putting on a pair of ...more
Jan 03, 2013 Erin rated it did not like it
Just finished it, so this may be too much of a gut reaction. We'll see if my thoughts change once I've sat with it for a while. This book frustrated me. It took me a while to wade through the style of writing and start focusing on the story itself. The written text probably added to the authenticity of the experience, but it was a bit much at times. I also had some very visceral reactions to the graphic hard-core male language that seemed a bit gratuitous at times, but again, maybe added some ...more
Mar 18, 2011 Nine rated it it was ok
I would probably file this book alongside stuff like Boyracers by Alan Bissett and Graffiti My Soul by Niven Govinden, but ultimately it doesn't work as well. I mostly liked it, but soon realised it was something to pass the time rather than something I could get invested in, plus once in a while I was kind of like, okay, this bit is going on too long and is a bit teen-angsty. But then at the very end this nugget of information was revealed that changes the whole damn thing, and there was ...more
Dec 21, 2007 Lisa rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: cultural theorists
The only thing this book had going for it was the description of the cultures, subcultures, and acculturation struggles of the South Asian/Desi community in London. The language took some getting used to, and the "glossary" was terribly incomplete and seemed to peter out completely by the middle of the book. In a few years, the slang will be as obscure as Beowulf, so if you're going to read it, read it now. The characters weren't all that interesting and certainly weren't sympathetic, the plot ...more
I thought this was complete rubbish. Five minutes into the book I already hated the arrogant bunch of thugs that are supposed to be our beloved heroes. If I don't like or connect to the characters I rarely get far in the book and this was one of those cases. Personally I was hoping that some other thugs would come up and beat the living daylights out of them and put some fun in the book!

Following what the hell they were talking about was a challenge in itself and when you have to keep re-reading
Fay Franklin
Oct 15, 2015 Fay Franklin rated it did not like it
Shelves: ma-booklist
Before the pages of Bond-villain-like exposition and especially the insultingly stupid twist I would have given it three stars just for being an enjoyable light read in a YA style. But when an ending invalidates everything you've read over the past 300 pages it takes a strong will not to fling the damned thing across the room.
Sep 23, 2013 Jkhona rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Normly I sound so American at times and why do I now get a European Title for this one? Londonstani! Does it remind of all the glitterati of London shooted in Hritik starring K3G? Or the emotional siyaapa of Indian-ness through dialogues of Akki in Namastey London? And probly Vande Mataram and Ja-Na-GaNa-MaNa playing as the background score. I have scrolled through tonnes of photographs or so-called-Kodak Moments, where the undernourished Hindustanis comforting in the London Eye, getting an ...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Jas is eighteen, retaking his A-levels at the local college and hanging out as a member of Hardjit's crew, throwing off his nerdy ways to be a part of the desi (Indian, Pakistani) scene in London's desi suburb of Hounslow. Hardjit, Ravi, Amit and Jas have a racket going: they take in mobile phones and unblock them. Sometimes it's a service for family or friends who swap their phones with each other, but mostly it's so stolen mobiles can be resold.

A close call with the police after Hardjit, a Sik
Oh my. Testosterone overload, but that's exactly what the author wanted us to witness, innit?
I found this book quite effective on the topic of pretense, because this is not -as I first thought- about the violence and rage of an economically marginalized youth. This is not La Haine. These are middle-class kids emulating a macho attitude that seems to be de rigueur these days, and not just in the UK.
Toughness and desiness are cool, at least on the street, which is why I think the final twist doe
Nov 19, 2016 Leah rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-read-2016
I really like the author's use of dialect in this novel. The novel is based on his thesis written while he was a Cambridge and then turned into fiction. Perhaps it is this socio-political origin that made it feel so real.
Nov 09, 2016 Rebeca rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 13, 2009 Tim rated it liked it
If conflict is what drives a novel, Gautam Malkani's debut, Londonstani , has plenty of fuel. Throw in a narrator who tells the story with perception and humor in an argot comprised of English, Punjabi and urban slang and you're in for an intriguing ride, even if the payoff might leave you skeptical.[return][return]Londonstani addresses a variety of internal, generational, racial, religious and societal conflict. The story is told entirely from the viewpoint of Jas, who is in his late teens. He ...more
Carl R.
May 08, 2012 Carl R. rated it liked it
Gautam Malkani is no Zadie Smith. You should know that going into Londonstani so that you don’t expect the likes of White Teeth or On Beauty, both brilliant explorations of British ethnic life. Malkani’s opening goes for the brutal and shocking, sort of a contemporary Asian A Clockwork Orange. And it works. For a while. As does the language, a combination gangsta and texting idioms: “U bhanchod be callin us lot Paki one more time n I swear we”ll cut ‘chyu up, innit.” But Malkani proves quite ...more
Aug 28, 2015 Dhali rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Started reading this twice before and couldn't get past the opening scene. This time I started with chapter 2 and made it all the way through. It's a weird mix of clockwork orange and the outsiders .

The positives:
Great energy in the writing.
The fact that there is not one single character in the whole book that is actually likeable (no,not even Jas). I would not want to spend any time with anyone in this book and yet ... I still kept reading.
The scene in Boots had me laughing and exquisitel
Twenty five years on from when Asian youths confronted skinheads on the streets of Britain’s cities, a new generation of teenagers are navigating ethnicity and identity in Gautam Malkani’s Londonstani.

The immediate threat of racism has receded. Hounslow is a comparatively prosperous London suburb, not an inner city ghetto, so just how far do Jas and his mates have to go to prove they are hard men, not ‘batty coconuts?’

The narrator, Jas, is an intelligent young man whose natural, liberal instinct
Hassan Chaudhri
Oct 23, 2008 Hassan Chaudhri rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lori Theis
Mar 15, 2008 Lori Theis rated it really liked it
Shelves: sexdrugsrock
The psychologically explosive twist ending of Gautam Malkani’s Londonstani detonates like a literary landmine. With only a page and a half left in the novel this bewildering salvo critically deconstructs the assumptions of the reader in the flash of an eye. Malkani ambushes his readers so effectively that they will likely find themselves ruminating on the tiny suggestive shrapnel still lodged in their psyches long after the book is closed.

At its core Londonstani is about identity, or more prec
Oct 31, 2008 Brittany rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of books with big twist endings, People who understand TXT SPK
Recommended to Brittany by: Sarah
How I Came To Read This Book: My friend Sarah lent it to me after picking it up on the bargain bin table at Chapters or McNally.

The Plot: Jas is friends with some of the toughest east Indian guys in his end of London - near Heathrow airport. Instead of being the lowest man on the totem pole though, Jas and his friends team up with a high-rolling city slicker named Sanjay who takes Jas under his wing, introducing him to the forbidden love of his lusty life and in general pimping him out. Things t
Jan 08, 2012 Catherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookcrossing
I started this one night after going to bed, and finished it before I slept. Does there need to be more of a recommendation?

Unlike Tanamo I could cope with the language, which became more like that one imagines 'the old Jas' using as the book progressed anyway. I suspect this is because of the large number of Sikh, Hindu and Muslim teenagers - and adults - that I have worked with over the years. Thanks to that, and a little gap-filling courtesy of Goodness Gracious Me, there were few words that
Jan 22, 2009 Chris rated it liked it
This book is about respect, pure and simple. Who deserves respect, what it earns you, what you pay to get it, whether tradition is worth respecting for its own sake. Jas is an immature 19 year old who's actually too smart not to see the inherent absurdity in his devotee relationship with the neighborhood 'cool guys' but insecure enough not want to make the break. He and his friends crave respect but they confuse it with bulging muscles, easy sex, flash cars, big wads of cash and dodgy deals. ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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