Atima Srivastava is the first prominent example of a school of British Asian literature that also includes Preethi Nair, Nisha Minhas and B. K. Mahal: a British Asian romance genre intervention. Her two novels, Looking for Maya (1999) and Transmission (1992), feature young women protagonists working in creative industries. As both the first and the most sophisticated example of the rise of British Asian popular romance, Srivastava's fiction simultaneously challenges two core values of the romance genre: whiteness and heterosexuality. Moreover, the favouring of romance plots over concerns with ethnicity make her novels a further example of the post-ethnic reality to which Hanif Kureishi's work has gestured. The identity crises of earlier British Asians – whether migrants or British born – have been replaced by what Darcus Howe calls an ‘ease of presence’, challenging representations of British Asians as in any sense alienated, disaffected or caught between competing cultures. Through subtle subversion of Western romance, Srivastava's novels interrogate stereotypes of British Asian women, announcing a confident and independent contemporary identity.
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