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Review of England is Mine by Nicolas Padamsee

Updated: Apr 8

It’s not often you can say ‘I haven’t read anything like this before’ but here it’s true. Nicolas Padamsee has painted a portrait of young manhood and modern Britain that will devastate readers. 

England is Mine followers two teenagers, David and Hassan. Both second-generation immigrants struggling to fit into a harsh society but also just teen lads interested in gaming, music, girls and wondering what their future holds. When David’s musical hero, Karl Williams (a very Morrissey-esque character), is publicly ‘cancelled’ for accusing Muslims of homophobia, tensions rise at sixth-form and what follows is a dark descent into far-right radicalisation. 

David finds online friends who take him under their wing and soon they seem to be the only ones who understand him. He would do anything in the name of what they have come to stand for. Meanwhile, Hassan has lost his friends, choosing the youth centre, his local mosque and university prospects over his former classmates who have since turned to drugs and violence. They have both experienced humiliations but their paths are about to cross again in a tragic way.

This is a novel that does not shy away from the realities of extremism. There is no sugar-coating but there is a humanness portrayed here that reminds us that radicalisation is a problem for all of us. 

It is not a hidden monster or a ‘lone wolf’ that we can brush under the carpet and perhaps it is only by taking a real look at modern England, and at ourselves, as the author does here, that we can do something about it.

Reviewed by Abi.

England is Mine will be published on 11/04/24 by Serpent’s Tail.

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