Srinivas, an elderly Brahmin, has been living in a south London suburb for thirty years. After the death of his son, and later his wife, this lonely man is befriended by an Englishwoman in her sixties, whom he takes into his home. The two form a deep and abiding relationship. But the haven they have created for themselves proves to be a fragile one. Racist violence enters their world and Srinivas's life changes irrevocably - as does his dream of England as a country of tolerance and equality. First published in 1972, The Nowhere Man depicts a London convulsed by fear and bitterness. A recent re-appraisal of her work in the Paris Review said: With The Nowhere Man, Markandaya wrote a British state of the nation novel whose acuteness and depth of understanding , unsung at the time, resounds eerily today.' Truly shocking, The Nowhere Man is as relevant today as when it was first published almost fifty years ago.
`It's great that this lost gem has been rediscovered, and at a time when Markandaya's acute delineation of displacement, alienation, and the scapegoating of immigrants is so pertinent once again. Perhaps for a decade or two, the novel might have seemed `dated' to many, falsely believing that we inhabit a `post-racial' world. It is, in fact, a novel that will endure not only because of the depth of understanding it brings about the immigrant experience, but also because Markandaya has, in Srinivanas, created a remarkable, indelible character. Monica Ali; `It's a travesty that this novel has been erased from British and international literary history. It is just as relevant today as when it was published - perhaps even more so. It has absolutely vital things to say about England and Englishness, race and racism, identity, belonging and prejudice. It struck many chords as I read it. Anyone who loves literature and cares about diversity in our cultural life - and is perturbed by what is happening in our country today - should read it immediately.'Bidisha; `A book for our times written half a century ago is a fair definition of a classic. This brilliant if unjustly forgotten London novel combines the moral clarity of To Kill A Mockingbird with Markandaya's own understanding that words are all it takes to set a society ablaze.' Maya Jaggi; `This is a compelling, delicate portrayal of a brutalising time. A love story between a couple who defy caricature confronted by hatred rooted in stereotype. Powerful, human, engaging and appalling.' Gary Younge; `The Nowhere Man was Kamala Markandaya's favourite of all her works - no doubt because the story featured something she observed frequently in England, her adopted country: racism. By addressing that issue frontally, she paved the way for novelists like Salman Rushdie and Nadeem Aslam. The novel is a richly rewarding and compelling narrative - I will leave you to discover for yourself its hellish ending.' Charles R. Larson; With The Nowhere Man, Markandaya wrote a British state of the nation novel whose acuteness and depth of understanding, unsung at the time, resounds eerily today.' Paris Review; `Markandaya's writing grabs hold and doesn't let go. She weaves the reality of racial politics as a lived experience, as well as themes of community, conquest, belonging and love. Character interiority and complexity are exploited to the full, fostering empathy, even when people should be despised. Cultures clash, generations are divided by gaps, there are private and political rebellions, families are ripped apart, much goodness prevails, but when immigrants are made scapegoats, innocent people suffer. The Nowhere Man is worryingly topical in our unsettled times with hate crimes on the rise and anti-foreign sentiment stoked by the Brexit agenda. Unfortunately, Markandaya died in 2004 and isn't around to witness renewed interest in the book she considered her greatest. Generations of readers lost out on reading this gem.' Bernardine Evaristo, THE OBSERVER