Home and the hearth
My novel, “Sons and Fascination” published in February 2011. Whilst not appearing soundtracked by resounding praise and blanket review coverage, I have nonetheless been pleased by people’s reactions. Ultimately, it is a novel about a search for home, especially the search for home and self that begins when your current home and situation is rendered alien by events. In that way then, of course it is a postcolonial book. It is very much a book about those questions of identity, of having to pretend to fit in, of being and feeling somewhat apart from things. It is a book written by a son of Punjabi immigrants, who is living now in London. It is a book written by a son who has seen his father and his ilk disenfranchised but who has seen them behave like children, and not men. In the words of the Manic Street Preachers, “I lost my language easily”. I only had to look away and exercise all the impulses to follow my own creative whims.
Of course, the fact that the characters are not brown means there is no hook for the reviewers to hang it on. It means it will not rise like fluffy bread to the attention of the doyennes of the prizes and it won’t make headway through the love in that categorizes the modern literary scene. But that does not matter to me too much. Home and hearth are present in every sentence, as is the disaffected mien of callow, directionless youth. We are given goals but denied the meaning they used to have. We are given platforms but have nothing to say, our place as social media engines secure and our lives the biggest drama we know of and conceive. So I do not crave adulation for my book. I crave acceptance for what it is, though: a resigned sigh, a plangent love letter and a sortie into the brittle steppe of middle modern style, neither for, nor against. We are unexceptional in many ways.