I bought Balti Britain for research into a newspaper piece I'm writing. It is poorly written, which surprises me, as Granta is very selective and normally publishes immaculate stuff. I'm surprised they didn't demand more of the writer. He inserts memoir sections into the book and they're lively and interesting. Then he descends into dullness. The paperback inserts the word "provocative" into the title, which is always a bad sign, but I can see why they did it. It's not a book, more a series of worthy magazine pieces (I suppose, to be fair, that this is Granta's strength.)
The book is basically a series of interviews with male Britons, usually elderly, of South Asian background. No women. Sardar comments on South Asian women briefly near the end of the book, I suspect at the insistence of an editor. He says such women have little to complain of.
Maybe they don't. It would have helped to hear them say this. I swear, if you went by Balti Britain's version, there are no South Asian women in Britain at all. Sardar isn't interested. This reader is.
The section on Balti restaurants is fascinating, though, and gives great insight into what makes them great. But it's not the fascinating comprehensive book it pretends to be.
It's boring. Granta let me down.