Michael Perfect, assistant professor in the Department of English Language and Literature, has a new book, “Contemporary Fictions of Multiculturalism,” published by Palgrave Macmillan in October. Dr. Perfect’s main research interests are in twentieth- and twenty-first-century literature and culture. He has published journal articles and book chapters on contemporary British literature and postcolonial studies, and has taught at the University of Cambridge (where he obtained his PhD in 2011) as well as in London.
The publisher’s notice describes Dr. Perfect’s book as follows: “London is one of the most diverse cities in human history. While its multicultural character has been widely celebrated in recent decades —by writers of fiction as much as by anyone—more recently multiculturalism has been said to have ‘failed,’ or to have never really existed in the first place. How have recent works of fiction engaged with London’s multiculturalism, and could that multiculturalism itself be regarded as a kind of ‘fiction’?
“This study analyses a number of key contemporary texts (including ‘Brick Lane,’ ‘White Teeth,’ ‘Small Island’ and ‘Pigeon English’) that engage with questions about ethnic and cultural diversity in London. It argues that in recent years the most successful and engaging works of literature about the city have attempted to assert its diversity as undeniable whilst also challenging the notion that London is an inclusive utopia which offers sanctuary and prosperity to its migrants.”
Dr. Perfect’s book—which is available in both paper and electronic formats—arrives at a time when issues such as immigration and multiculturalism are being hotly debated, not just in London or the UK but in many places around the world. It offers a valuable insight into these ongoing debates, and also makes a significant contribution to them.