Beta
X

04Apr

We Move by Gurnaik Johal review – a colourful tapestry of multicultural lives

Johal weaves stories of Southall citizens with economy and skill in this compelling debut collection

“There were two different realities in the room,” writes Gurnaik Johal in the title story of We Move, a debut collection of such precocity and aplomb that it stands comparison to the likes of Junot Díaz and Bryan Washington. In Johal’s stories, different realities are always colliding and occasionally merging into one. This is busy fiction: he alternates viewpoints, builds his effects by accretion of brief details, rarely staying with one character or one scene for more than a page.

A striking example is the opening story, Arrival, which last month won the Galley Beggar Press short story prize. (I was one of the judges.) It’s barely 1,500 words long – five pages in the book – but it packs in multitudes. It brings to life a couple, Chetan and Aanshi, who live near Heathrow, have no car and let friends use their drive to save on airport parking. When one acquaintance doesn’t return for her car, they tentatively begin to use it as their own. Johal weaves the way this changes their lives with how they cope as the woman’s fiance turns up to reclaim the vehicle and their speculation on why she didn’t come back. It’s a perfect miniature.

Continue reading...

Related

‘It’s the best way to live!’: International Booker winners Geetanjali Shree and Daisy Rockwell

The Indian novelist and her translator scooped the £50,000 prize with Tomb of Sand, a novel about de...

Read More >

Translating Myself and Others by Jhumpa Lahiri review – the sanctuary of language

The novelist’s collection of essays on translation only hint at what led her to take refuge in Ital...

Read More >

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Joanne Greenberg review – rock bottom in a ‘rest home’

First published in 1964, this striking account of Greenberg’s years in a psychiatric hospital revea...

Read More >

The Opposite of a Person by Lieke Marsman review – climate and Copernicus meet in the Italian Alps

The impact of blowing up a hydroelectric dam, the limits of identity politics and the Renaissance po...

Read More >

The best recent translated fiction – review roundup

Portrait of an Unknown Lady by María Gainza; The Trouble With Happiness by Tove Ditlevsen; The Land ...

Read More >

The Exhibitionist by Charlotte Mendelson review – scenes from a marriage

The author’s very funny fifth novel, about two artists and their toxic relationship, deserves its p...

Read More >