Pump Up The Street Cred

Only the deaf know Hounslow. The west London borough sits uncomfortably beneath the flight paths of nearby Heathrow Airport, where many of the vicinity's largely immigrant Indian and Pakistani residents labor as porters, cleaners and security guards — dreaming of escape, a better life for their children and, for now, triple-glazed windows to block out the noise. Yet Hounslow is about to become famous for another, similarly noisy local feature: a violent, hip-hop-infused, South Asian youth culture that is the subject of perhaps the year's most loudly hyped first novel.

The talk of last fall's Frankfurt Book Fair,...

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