Aziz's story is a story that is common to many but one that is rarely told. It is the story of growing up the child of immigrants and trying to progress in a society where the realities of racism and xenophobia are all too obvious. It gives voice to the experience of finding oneself caught between worlds and the concomitant feelings of shame, insecurity and powerlessness that this can engender. As he describes it, he found himself ‘a hyphenated man’ struggling to create an identity that fused East and West.
Brown Boy is a hugely important and desperately needed book, which asks the most important questions and answers them in a way that is sometimes uncomfortable but always incredibly stimulating. Like Richard Wright's Black Boy, from which it draws inspiration, Brown Boy will be read for years to come. It is an enormously significant contribution to the contemporary debate around race and identity, and a work of deep literary sensitivity that will stand the test of time.
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