Thursday, 28 May 2009

The Buddha of Suburbia

Title: The Buddha of Suburbia

Author: Hanif Kureishi

Number of pages: 284

Started: 18 May 2009

Finished: 28 May 2009

Opening words:

My name is Karim Amir, and I am an Englishman born and bred, almost. I am often considered to be a funny kind of Englishman, a new breed as it were, having emerged from two old histories. But I don't care - Englishman I am (though not proud of it), from the South London suburbs and going somewhere. Perhaps it is the odd mixture of continents and blood, of here and there, of belonging and not, that makes me restless and easily bored. Or perhaps it was being brought up in the suburbs that did it. Anyway, why search the inner room when it's enough to say that I was looking for trouble, any kind of movement, action and sexual interest I could find, because things were so gloomy, so slow and heavy, in our family, I don't know why. Quite frankly, it was all getting me down and I was ready for anything.

Plot summary:

The hero of Hanif Kureishi's debut novel is a dreamy teenager, desperate to escape suburban South London and experience the forbidden fruits that the 1970s seem to offer. When the unlikely opportunity of a life in the theatre announces itself, Karim starts to win the sort of attention he has been craving - albeit with some rude and raucous results.

What I thought:

I really enjoyed this book. It hasn’t got a particularly fast moving plot, but is more of an unfolding of a British born Indian teenager’s life as he grows up in, a somewhat racist, 1970’s Britain. I found the plot engaging, with some genuinely funny moments. It is very sexually explicit in places, so maybe not ideal for everyone, but it’s a good read if you’re not too bashful.

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