Marriage Material

Melissa Katsoulis in The Telegraph:

Marriage_Material_2676557bSathnam Sanghera’s The Boy with the Topknot, his memoir of growing up Sikh in Wolverhampton, dealt not only with the retro ephemera of an Eighties childhood but also with the serious subject of mental illness. His follow-up, as the title suggests, moves to the next age of a man’s life. This time it’s fiction, intertwining the story of a family of Sixties Punjabi immigrants with their descendant, Arjan, the present-day narrator who opens the book with a razor-sharp disquisition on the trials of being an Asian newsagent. “There are few more stereotypical things you can do as an Asian man, few more profound ways of wiping out your character and individuality, short of becoming a doctor, that is. Or fixing computers for a living. Or writing a book about arranged marriages.”

…Sanghera is such an engaging and versatile writer that the pages fly by in a flurry of pathos, politics and paratha with extra butter. Not many readers will recognise this satirical mini-masterpiece as a reworking of the 1908 Arnold Bennett novel The Old Wives’ Tale, but everyone will feel richer for its uncompromising take on race relations in the Black Country.

More here.