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The Electric New Novel In Our Mad and Furious City Paints a Must-Read Portrait of London

November 30, 0002 12:00 AM
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Novels that display a command of a particular voice as their most distinct feature can often fail by the same token, feeling like mere ventriloquism. This is decidedly not the case with Guy Gunaratne’s brilliant and inventive debut In Our Mad and Furious City, which uses a chorus of distinct voices from within London’s “council estates” (public housing) to present a gritty and tragic snapshot of the city.

The novel is told entirely in the first person, rotating through the perspectives of five characters whose lives have all been touched by extremism. There’s a woman and her rap-loving son whose family was swept up in the violence of Northern Ireland’s Troubles; an older black man of Britain’s “Windr...

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