Postcolonial Melting Pot

Book Report/Review
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Pages 8 (2008 words)
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In The Buddha of Suburbia, the space of performance, shifting from one margin to another, repeatedly destabilises the controlling narratives that define ideas of centre. Unsurprisingly, most commentators have tended to see Kureishi's sympathies as lying with the underdog.


Kureishi's approach questions the alleged righteousness of rioting and is less confident about its capacity to facilitate and constitute popular revolt. To a large extent the differences in attitudes between Johnson's dub poetry and Kureishi's film are both cultural and geographical. Whereas Johnson's teenage years in Brixton exposed him to the cruel realities of London's racism, Kureishi's suburban upbringing kept many of the problems of the city at bay. (Krishnaswamy, 1995, 125-46) Kureishi's visions of London seem more akin to those of the migrants of the 1950s rather than their children. Kureishi spent his childhood in Bromley, Kent, a suburb to the southeast of London, often experiencing discrimination and hostility as someone perceived to be of 'mixed race'. He did not grow up like Johnson as part of a wider black community radicalized by its experiences of racism.
Lonely in the suburbs and often discriminated against, Kureishi has remarked that his early life left him frustrated and stimulated the longing for the perceived excitements of Central London, marked by the threshold of the River Thames: for us the important place, really, was the river. And when you got on the train and you crossed the river, at that moment there was an incredible sense that you were entering another kind of world. ...
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