Sunday, November 25, 2007

Look We Have Coming to Dover!

Daljit Nagra's debut, Look We Have Coming to Dover! (Faber and Faber, 2007), deserves the attention it has been getting. Nagra "do the people in different voices": the sheer variety of varieties of English here is astonishing. By the end of the book, I found myself slipping into my cheap imitation of Indian English effortlessly, and it usually requires a huge amount of concentration on my part to get into that delightful rhythm.

That said, the two poems that struck me most as individual poems are both in "standard" English: "Parade's End" and "Sajid Naqvi." "Parade's End" memorably describes a "champagne-gold Granada" that belongs to the speaker's father and that is vandalized with acid, while "Sajid Naqvi" describes a young student (a fan of The Smiths) who dies of a "freak heart attack" and is then buried by his family in a ceremony at a mosque, where the only music is "endless hymns from the Koran."

1 comment:

Colin Will said...

I completely agree with you on this Andrew. I heard Daljit read in St Andrews in March this year, and was very impressed by the freshness of his writing and the originality of his voice. Or rather voices, becauses he takes on several different personas in the collection.