From sado-masochism to ethnic minority identity crisis; Elvis impersonator on the run to the harsh reality of an abortion clinic – this bizarre grouping just doesn’t do this novel justice. Here we have three characters all in need of relationships which will free them from their bonds, and the fast pace never lets you doubt they will achieve it, however extreme the form that might take.
Imperial Mini Cabs was little more than a bombed out Chinese take-away: the receptionist sat behind a singed counter taking bookings and giving fares. Behind her a door led into a makeshift kitchen complete with kettle, toaster, fridge, sink and wooden table. Angel had been back in London just one week, but he’d already managed to find work. The morning after his mother had almost caught his dad, Asma and him watching porn – the very morning after he’d arrived, in fact – he had found himself at Imperial, signing up for shifts that ran from 4pm to 4am four days a week. His approach to the job was functional – a way of getting out of the house and beyond the eye of suspicion. At the same time, he hustled for another job. To keep his voice well-oiled, he sang while waiting for fares, and if they didn’t mind, while taking them as well. It was during a particularly inspired rendition of ‘Love Me Tender’ that Angel met Carla.