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Brideless in Wembley
By Anisa Topan
From the Patel corner shops that still glean Britain’s high streets, to the multicultural pockets of our communities in Tooting, Southall and Leicester, ‘Brideless in Wembley’ provides an insight into the history and intertwining of post-immigration Britain.
   

Author, Sanjay Suri, weaves a rich tapestry of Indian lives and how Britain became “home”. ‘Brideless in Wembley’ in its essence is a collection of short stories ranging from Suri looking for a wife at a marriage mela in Wembley, to the experiences of illegal immigrants in Southall.

Leicester’ describes the influx of immigrants from Bombay and how one of the first settlers, Dhanjibhai, managed to get jobs for the influx of Indian immigrants at a mill. Their skilful labourers saw the growth of the ‘Bestard’ mill, which opened up hundreds of jobs for the plane-loads of Indians coming to settle in Britain.

Suri questions the term “multiculturalism” in Leicester and points out the segregation within it, a contradiction to the term. The heart-breaking tale ‘Give me Ghetto’ describes the racism and persecution suffered by an Indian family just outside of Leicester, powerless to do anything because of economic reasons. Suri’s humorous tale of ‘Holes’ is actually a magical description of community.

Suri’s observations are acute and witty, with an uncanny ability to get to the heart of the issues surrounding the Asian community. He picks up on their niggling insecurities, the desperation to forge community and the preservation of culture.

Brideless in Wembley’ is a must-read as it explores the concepts of isolation and integration beautifully, as often is the case, by trying so hard to create a community, the Asian community can be their own worst enemy.

Published by Summersdale, ‘Brideless in Wembley’ by Sanjay Suri is available online from and all good bookshops.

 
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