Much of the Pakistani Hussein family has settled in London, striving for the riches promised by Thatcherism. Nasser and his right hand man, Salim, have a number of small businesses and they do whatever they need to make money, even if the activities are illegal. As such, Nasser and his immediate family live more than a comfortable lifestyle, and he flaunts his riches whenever he can. Meanwhile, his brother, alcoholic Ali, once a famous journalist in Pakistan, lives in a seedy flat with his son, Omar. Ali's life in London is not as lucrative in part because of his left leaning politics, which does not mesh with the ideals of Thatcherism. To help his brother, Nasser gives Omar a job doing menial labor. But Omar, with bigger plans, talks Nasser into letting him manage Nasser's run down laundrette. Omar seizes what he sees as an opportunity to make the laundrette a success, and employs an old friend, Johnny - who has been most recently running around with a gang of white punks - to help ...Written by
Johnny and Omar live in a world of multiple cogenerating, coexisting, modifying, negating, enforcing and enhancing forms of discrimination -- racism, sexism, groupism, homophobia, cultural elitism, snobbery, reverse colonialism, neocolonialism and fascism -- which they successfully grapple and topple in the form of their launderette with the power of economic enterprise. These squabbling goblins are left to each others excesses as economic success lifts them up and out of these, but many questions remain: will they remain; would others succeed; what does luck have to do with it? Kureshi has pissed off all groups who find themselves part of this smashing satire, prime among them the identity conscious confused second/third generation Subcontinental British kids, the same contingency that staunchly supported the Rushdie fatwa. Brilliant and stupendously enjoyable.
11 of 20 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this