These books echo worries about the difficulty of building a diverse and cohesive societyby Sameer Rahim / November 12, 2015 / Leave a comment
Published in December 2015 issue of Prospect Magazine
This year Europe’s refugee crisis became impossible to ignore as 430,000 people arrived, fleeing war or poverty. But mainly absent from the political debate have been migrant voices. What does it feel like to be an illegal immigrant or to be British-born but culturally alienated? Four novels published in the last year describe how newcomers to Britain negotiate with the host culture a dozen times a day. The picture they collectively draw is not of a happy multicultural nation; they all echo worries about the difficulty of building a diverse and cohesive society. They also explore how those migrants keen to work and integrate into Britain, experience a country very different from the one they imagined. There is opportunity, yes, but also isolation, poverty and racism.