This is an acclaimed first novel by a London born writer of Carribean ancestry. Salman Rushdie says on the cover he was impressed and delighted by it. And the first third of the book proves that he is right. Smith introduces the reader to two families, one Carribean- British, the other Pakistani, both living in Willesden.
The characters are certainly autobiographic and very colourful. Smith looks at them without mercy but with lots of humour. Their life stories are bizarre, they are torn between rivalling cultures and religious beliefs. 24-year-old Smith obviously has worked out her own literary theory, which is not very different from H.v. Doderer´s. But that she won´t know, although she seems to have read a lot and made up her mind that she knows how to tell a story. Maybe her editor should have reined her in a bit. The book is too voluminous. The plot gets out of hand, becomes repetitive and rather boring, to be honest. But it´s certainly a proud example of multicultural British society.