Thursday, April 09, 2020

Top ten books about Londoners

Panikos Panayi was born in London to Greek Cypriot immigrants and grew up in the multicultural city developing during the 1960s and 1970s. A leading authority on the history of migration, he is Professor of European History at De Montfort University.

Panayi's new book is Migrant City: A New History of London.

At the Guardian, Panayi tagged ten books about "the modern history of London, providing an insight into its ethnic and social diversity." One novel on the list:
White Teeth by Zadie Smith (2000)

Smith’s novel takes us forward from the experiences faced by first generation immigrants in [Andrea Levy's] Small Island to the realities of multi-ethnic London at the end of the century. It is told through the lives of migrants and their children, in which ethnic diversity and ethnic mixing became part of the everyday realities of life for all Londoners, whatever their background, a process which had become normalised by the 1960s and which has roots throughout London’s history. White Teeth offers a brilliant literary account of these processes.
Read about another entry on the list.

White Teeth is on Ellie Kemper's ten favorite books list, Jeff Somers's list of five notable books set on New Year’s Eve (and Day), Michael Gibney's top ten list of restaurants and bars in modern literature, Mary Beard's six best books list, John Mullan's list of the ten most notable New Years in literature, Melissa Albert's list of five notable--and ambitious--debut novels and Nigel Williams's list of ten of the best books about suburbia.

--Marshal Zeringue