'There are many who date the day he took to walking as the beginning of his madness. But others mark it as the beginning of that other walk when, patiently, and bit by bit, he began tracing the secret blueprint of a new city...'
He is Brothero-Man, one of the pioneer jumping-ship men, who landed in the East End and lived by bending the English language to the umpteenth degree. He, 'the invisible surveyor of the city' must complete his walk before the mascatchers in white coats intercept him and take him away.
These stories, set in London's Banglatown and Bangladesh, bring startlingly fresh insights to the experiences of exile and settlement. Written between realism and fantasy, acerbic humour and delicate grace, they explore the lives of exiles and settlers, traders and holy men, transvestite hemp-smoking actors and the leather-jacketed, pool-playing youths who defended Brick Lane from skinhead incursion. In the title story, Islam makes dazzling use of the metaphor of map-making as Brothero-Man, 'galloping the veins of your city' becomes the collective consciousness of all the settlers inscribing their realities on the parts of Britain they are claiming as their own.
Chris Searle writes: 'a luminous collection, a work of rare empathy and moving insight into the minds and hopes of new Londoners.'
Debjani Chatterjee writes: '... there can be little doubt that they add a fresh and distinctive voice to the contemporary British short story scene. At his best, Islam is a talented writer who impresses with his skilled craftsmanship and poetic style.'
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Syed Manzurul (Manzu) Islam was born in 1953 in a small northeastern town in East Pakistan (later Bangladesh). He has a doctorate and was Reader in English at the University of Gloucestershire, specialising in postcolonial literature and creative writing