Rating 7 out of 10
This is a great book. It tells the story about the bi-sexual Karim who is the son of an immigrant Indian man and British mother in the UK. That being said Hanif Kureishi is not a new Kafka, Proust, Joyce or Blixen. The genre of the book must be described as daring mainstream. But I dare say this is as good as mainstream can get. Like the clever dicks have said about Shakespeare: There is something for both the peasant and the king. The book describes life in the 70's and 80's London. Seen from the perspective of a guy with immigrant background but at the same time deeply involved with the current trends in art, theatre, music and litterature. There is some unforgettable moments where Hanif describes his meetings with drugs, sex and the new trends in culture. Especially the arival of punk with the Sex Pistols in the late 70's scene with love and peace/political left wing culture, Hanif describes staggering. It's great with this precise account of British culture, yet having this ethnic twist. The one drawback of the book is perhaps that it draws a too rosery image of the moslem immigants in Europe. There is no mention of moslem violence and crime in the book, the moslems are described as victims of white British racism, skinheads and neo-fasiscm. Also the rising islamism, which I guess was already going on in the 70's and 80's is not mentioned at all. In the book an islamic man is forcing his daughter to marry an unkown Indian man who arrives straight from Bombay, this is treated in a very light hearted fashion, like all is well. Honour killings of women in many Europe countries commited by islamic men has later shown that all is not well. Also the percentage of violent crime commited by people with moslem background in Europe today is far higher, in proportion, than violent crime commited by people of native European origin. So the discription of the immigrant with moslem background in the book seems somewhat biased. Well properly the situation was different in the 60's, 70's when the writer grew up. Otherwise it's a really great book. I dare say a modern classic. I was impressed.