The Cosmopolitan Potential of Urban England?: Jon McGregor’s If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things
This chapter examines how Jon McGregor’s If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things reads the contemporary British city in terms of its cosmopolitan potential and the inherent tensions at play. Rather than simplistically embracing a utopian cosmopolitan ideal, McGregor’s text highlights an oscillation between a movement toward such an ideal, through the representation of a day in the life of a racially and ethnically mixed city street, and recognition of the myriad difficulties that stand in the way of its fulfillment, through a separate alternating narrative highlighting the loneliness of and gaps in communication between urban dwellers within a society that remains overly atomistic. This oscillation reveals the ways in which Britain in the new millennium continues to struggle to remake its national identity post empire.
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