In a suggestive essay named after the northern town of Bradford, Hanif Kureishi has explored the uncomfortable terrain of a hybridity which is ‘Englishness’ for a new generation of Asians born and raised in Britain. Kureishi’s portrait of Bradford as a ‘microcosm’ for what he calls the potential of a ‘larger’ Britain, a Britain that might acknowledge its cultural and racial diversity as being inside rather than outside its borders, points to some of the major preoccupations of his art, as well as those of a number of other contemporary Asian British writers. The discordant polarities of the world Kureishi exposes in Bradford are both exhilarating and threatening; it is the home of competing racist groups — whether white, black or Asian — the birthplace of the Yorkshire Ripper, the site of British workingmen’s clubs, deprived white housing estates, boarded up ‘Asian’ houses, Pakistani taxi drivers with Yorkshire accents, single sex Muslim schools.
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