“London Does Not Belong To Me” A novel about Negotiations.
Written by: Lee Kok Liang
Amalia Qistina Abdullah

This essay is written to show that the novel “London Does Not Belong to Me” by Lee Kok Liang is a novel of negotiation. In this novel, the small group of characters from different cultures with different personalities will be entangled in a web of deceit, lust and alienation. As the narrator’s association with the other characters is explored, so too is his relationship to place, culture, sexuality and power.
Negotiation as defined in the Oxford dictionary 8th Edition, is an act or process of conferring or discussing to reach an agreement. It is a settlement or agreement. The key words would be: talk, dialogue; give and take; bargaining; mediation and coming to terms.
Lee Kok Liang explores a place of an Asian in a predominantly European society. Using an unnamed narrator, who struggles to understand London and meets other characters in the novel. Characters who are a collection of desperate people from Ireland, Paris, Australia and also citizen of Britain, who tries to seek identity, purpose and a sense of belonging in an alien environment. The narrator tried to ‘fit in’ with these other characters, but it seems that he always experience being an outsider. In the end the narrator, goes back home and he decided to live a new life. There was a significant closure with his unrequited love for Cordelia; the narrator and Beatrice settled a negotiation that set him free. London was not for him as Cordelia was not for him. As the story unfolds, Lee seems to be showing the multiple personalities of the characters, how they need to negotiate with each other and settle their personal struggle of ‘self’ and ‘otherness’ in order for them to find their identity and their essence.
The narrator met Beatrice the first time when she was in the quadrangle and the narrator happens to pass by....