In Our Mad and Furious City
by Gunaratne, Guy

A U.S. release of a Man Booker Prize long-listed debut is based on true events and follows the experiences of five haunted residents of a London public housing complex who are drawn together by a 48-hour surge of extremism. Original.

Guy Gunaratne was born in London in 1984. His debut novel In Our Mad and Furious City was long-listed for the 2018 Man Booker Prize and short-listed for the 2018 Gordon Burn Prize. He previously worked as a journalist and documentary filmmaker covering human rights stories around the world. He divides his time between London, UK and Malmö, Sweden.

Gunaratne's explosive first novel centers on the Stones estate, an impoverished neighborhood that contrasts starkly with the nearby grand arch of Wembley stadium. He depicts multiethnic London from five contrasting perspectives, those of Nelson, a first-generation immigrant from Monserrat; Selvon, his London-born son; Yusuf, the son of an imam; Northern Irish Caroline; and her son, Ardan, an aspiring if pessimistic rapper. In the aftermath of the brutal murder of a soldier in broad daylight by extremists (a reference to the 2013 murder of Lee Rigby), the novel begins with palpable tension and urgency, a tone reminiscent of early Bret Easton Ellis. The focus on racial bigotry is markedly like that of Kenneth Steven's 2020 (2018), but Gunaratne's vision is much broader, encompassing the continuing reverberations of British colonialism, ideas of community and identity, and the everyday struggles of his adolescent protagonists. While many will need help decoding the constant slang, Gunaratne's polyvocal tale, longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, etches a rich picture of contemporary London and the recurring, historically rooted racial tensions that dominate it. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

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