In the opening paragraph of Hanif Kureishi’s The Buddha of Suburbia, the seventeen-year-old narrator feels compelled to announce his nationality three times. It has been in print for less than 20 years, but Hanif Kureishi’s debut novel remains an important time capsule for teenage life in s London. So opens Hanif Kureishi’s The Buddha of Suburbia. That “almost” almost killed me. I remember the day I got that book out of the library. I’d seen.

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The Buddha of Suburbia

He is torn between wanting acceptance from two camps: His father, Rafiushan, was from a wealthy Madras family, most of whose members moved to Pakistan after the Partition of India in Karim Amir lives with his English mother and Indian father in the routine comfort of suburban London, enduring his teenage years with good humor, always on the lookout for adventure and sexual possibilities.

Kureishi felt like family. Videos About This Book.

Karim has as extended a vocabulary as any of the would-be bohemians or theatre-folk he meets. Views Read Edit View history. Rather the story centres on his son Karim.

It is full of the colours, sights and sounds of that era. After discovering that Haroon and Eva are more than just friends, Karim seeks advice from his childhood companion, Jamila, but discovers that her situation is more dire as her father is forcing her into an arranged marriage. A reasonable amount of shops and restaurants!


Jun 11, Jane rated it liked it. He was born in England to Indian and Budxha parents yet has never even visited India so regards himself to be English yet hanig of his colour is not treated as such.

He eagerly seizes buddah unlikely opportunity when a life in the theatre presents itself as a possibility.

Moving from “suburbia” to London, with its promise buvdha drugs, sex and excitement, Karim discovers a talent for acting which sets him on a path to the first of many disillusionments over love and politics. I remember the day I got that book out of the library.

Nothing really much happens in the novel, but the characters are deep like something of Michael Cummingham’s. The plot is hardly labyrinthine and there’s no neat resolution, but Kureishi’s blunt treatment of race, politics and sexuality is sure to grab the reader’s attention as he confronts uncomfortable home truths about British attitudes towards foreigners.

That one act of representation was enough to show me that I belonged. The use of sex, the descriptions, and the crude words used for body parts is. It is sobering for me to realize this book was published 25 years ago now. I was surprised by the choice, but as I continued to read The Buddha of Suburbia examines human behavior and how the choices we make affect those around us.

This question contains spoilers… view spoiler [Do you think Daddio made the right move leaving his wife for Eva?

I loved the way that the father is presumed to know the secrets of ‘Eastern’ wisdom simply because he I grew up in Beckenham, the exact part of London suburbia in which this novel is set. I remember my mum expressing a similar desire, to die in India though she had never lived therebecause it was the country of her heritage and near her sisters.


Budfha it was the interesting ones, like Eva with her hard, taking edge, who ended up with everything, and in bed with my father” For a time, he lives with Charlie, who has become a rock star, but he is as unhappy in New York as he was in London and goes home.

This book taught me that literature can be both incredibly entertaining and soul-piercingly deep.

The Buddha of Suburbia: voice | Books | The Guardian

View the Lesson Plans. His son does budcha believe in him either and, at the same time, has his first erotic experiences. Its list of famous former residents is limited to HG Wells blue plaque outside Argos and David Bowie then plain old David Joneswho went to school at a local polytechnic before running for the hills at the earliest opportunity.

And it manages to be funny, sexy, political and grubbily glamorous. It also unlocked something in my reading. I loved the way that the father is presumed to know the secrets of ‘Eastern’ wisdom simply because he is Indian.