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Old 09-27-2001, 12:33 PM   #1
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Hanif Kureishi fans?

Perhaps further evidence that I've retreated into an intellectual aloofness, British author, Hanif Kureishi, is quickly becoming my favorite writer. It's also probably because I've met him before too...reminds me a lot of myself actually, and I really agreed with everything he had to say about writing.

Anyone here know who I'm talking about? If you do, I'd appreciate your comments about him.

Melon

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"He had lived through an age when men and women with energy and ruthlessness but without much ability or persistence excelled. And even though most of them had gone under, their ignorance had confused Roy, making him wonder whether the things he had striven to learn, and thought of as 'culture,' were irrelevant. Everything was supposed to be the same: commercials, Beethoven's late quartets, pop records, shopfronts, Freud, multi-coloured hair. Greatness, comparison, value, depth: gone, gone, gone. Anything could give some pleasure; he saw that. But not everything provided the sustenance of a deeper understanding." - Hanif Kureishi, Love in a Blue Time
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Old 11-09-2001, 11:38 PM   #2
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Reviving this thread, as I am currently reading his book, "Intimacy," and eating it up.

It's funny how I reread this thread, only to see my phrase "intellectual aloofness," which I also used in the "phobia" thread. Funny how feelings ebb and flow in me.

Melon

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"He had lived through an age when men and women with energy and ruthlessness but without much ability or persistence excelled. And even though most of them had gone under, their ignorance had confused Roy, making him wonder whether the things he had striven to learn, and thought of as 'culture,' were irrelevant. Everything was supposed to be the same: commercials, Beethoven's late quartets, pop records, shopfronts, Freud, multi-coloured hair. Greatness, comparison, value, depth: gone, gone, gone. Anything could give some pleasure; he saw that. But not everything provided the sustenance of a deeper understanding." - Hanif Kureishi, Love in a Blue Time

[This message has been edited by melon (edited 11-09-2001).]
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Old 11-10-2001, 05:31 AM   #3
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I don't know his work
any recommendations?

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Old 11-10-2001, 11:19 AM   #4
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I recommend "Intimacy" currently.

From the publisher:

"Jay, the narrator of Hanif Kureishi's third novel, tells his story on the night that he is preparing to leave his lover, Susan, and their two boys. He and Susan live comfortably in London. Each loves the children. Yet Jay, "lost in the middle of [his] life," craves and depends on passion in life, and it is no longer there. Kureishi strips away all posturing and self-justification to expose the flaws of his own protagonist and the failure of intimacy. Searingly honest, he explores the fears and desires that drive a man to leave a woman."

I also recommend "Midnight All Day."

From amazon.co.uk:

"Midnight All Day, his new collection of short stories, continues his exploration of the irrational impulses of desire. Some of the protagonists here seem to be barely disguised avatars of the author, as if Kureishi had felt compelled to go over the earlier material obsessively, from different angles, through different voices: a prismatic opening up of the emotional complexity of Intimacy (the book is alluded to in the first story; elsewhere there are uneasy discussions about the ethics of writing). There is a clinical quality to his observations, an anatomisation born not of indifference but of fascinated curiosity at the perplexing disarray of human relationships, the shifts from desperate need to boredom, the uneasy fragility of the alliances that lovers make: 'We are unerring in our choice of lovers, particularly when we require the wrong person. There is an instinct, magnet or aerial which seeks the unsuitable. The wrong person is, of course, right for something--to punish, bully or humiliate us, let us down, leave us for dead, or, worst of all, give us the impression that they are not inappropriate, but almost right, thus hanging us in love's limbo.'

He perhaps shows in these stories that what he has always been interested in is the unfathomable pitch of sexuality-- ultimately idiosyncratic and endlessly fascinating, a chaotic accumulation of people's myriad specific needs, anxieties and desires.

Kureishi has moved away from the more obviously politicised terrain of earlier work, though elegiac glimpses of it surface occasionally, ruminations on the wake of idealism. If the long years of Thatcherism made a kind of political writing unavoidable, the 90s has seen a shift of focus to the landscape within, to what we are as men or women. This selfishness stems from a recognition of the inability ever to know the other. ('If falling in love could only be a glimpse of the other, who was the passion really directed at?') What remains is the search for gratification and the scrutiny of one's own impulses, an alternation between compulsion and a need for freedom.

The final story, 'The Penis,' is an unsubtle reworking of Gogol's 'The Nose.' It is as if, after all the analysis, Kureishi is despairing of ever reaching a better understanding of love: all that's left is one man and his dick, in uneasy alliance."

The other reason I probably like Kureishi quite a lot lately is that I actually met him once when I was in London. I had seen a private screening of the film version of "Intimacy" (which is not much like the book) and also the 1980s film, "My Beautiful Laundrette," where he wrote the screenplay.

Basically, in meeting him, he reminded me a lot of myself and my own thought processes. His writing is no different: it eerily seems to resonate with a lot of myself, which I find both refreshing and scary in itself.

In terms of readability, he's on a similar level with Salman Rushdie, although I find Kureishi's work to be more personal and emotional, while Rushdie's work can be more grandiose in scheme (it's not an insult to Rushdie; he's my other favorite fiction author).

Anyway, I hope my comments here are helpful in some capacity.

Melon

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"He had lived through an age when men and women with energy and ruthlessness but without much ability or persistence excelled. And even though most of them had gone under, their ignorance had confused Roy, making him wonder whether the things he had striven to learn, and thought of as 'culture,' were irrelevant. Everything was supposed to be the same: commercials, Beethoven's late quartets, pop records, shopfronts, Freud, multi-coloured hair. Greatness, comparison, value, depth: gone, gone, gone. Anything could give some pleasure; he saw that. But not everything provided the sustenance of a deeper understanding." - Hanif Kureishi, Love in a Blue Time
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Old 11-10-2001, 12:25 PM   #5
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thanks
I agree on Rushdie
he's even a bit too 'grandiose' (I guess) for my personal liking

should I ever stumble upon one of these books I might just pick one up

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Old 11-10-2001, 12:34 PM   #6
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By "grandiose," I meant it always seems that Rushdie is trying to take on some huge and important task larger than any one of us. Kureishi seems to tackle problems that are closer to Earth.

In "Intimacy," it is really only one task: he is leaving his wife and children behind, and he's sorting his emotions before he does it. Jay, the protagonist, is certainly not an idealized character either. You may even learn to hate him, but you, at least, learn everything about him internally, allowing one to make such a decision about likeability on his/her own.

Melon

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"He had lived through an age when men and women with energy and ruthlessness but without much ability or persistence excelled. And even though most of them had gone under, their ignorance had confused Roy, making him wonder whether the things he had striven to learn, and thought of as 'culture,' were irrelevant. Everything was supposed to be the same: commercials, Beethoven's late quartets, pop records, shopfronts, Freud, multi-coloured hair. Greatness, comparison, value, depth: gone, gone, gone. Anything could give some pleasure; he saw that. But not everything provided the sustenance of a deeper understanding." - Hanif Kureishi, Love in a Blue Time
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