A novel about ambiguities; sexual, familial, racial, professional--and life's ever-changing paths. Funny, rauuchy, enjoyable, particularly if you enjoy modern British authors.
The Buddha of Suburbia is a fun book to read whilst traveling in the UK. The plot is simple, and even peters out a bit towards the end: dad leaves mom for another woman, change and growing up ensue. But throw in memorable characters, multicultural commentary, and BBC miniseries adaptation infamous for lots of sex, and it's no surprise Hanif Kureishi won the Whitbread / Costa Book prize in 1990 for this debut work. Karim, son of an English mother and Indian father, grew up in the dull comfort of a South London suburb until his father embraces his Oriental roots and assumes the title role. Involved in the transformation is an affair with Eva, which propels Karim into a different society populated with renegade theater directors, punk rock stars, and plenty of sexual possibility. Kureishi's touch is his ability to create vividly comical characters and situations which, instead of coming across as farcical, cleverly comments on race, class, identity in 1970s Britain. Supposedly this is the book on the 1001 books you must read before you die list that launched the multicultural British novel. Read it for amusement, not to check it off the list.
This book is unusual, likable. Pretty light reading.
I really enjoyed this book. It tackles the usual issues of life in an immigrant family, but with great humor and excellent writing.
'One of the best comic novels of growing up, and one of the sharpest satires on race relations in this country (England), that I've ever read.'
INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY
From the back cover:
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. Life gets more interesting, however, when his father becomes the Buddha of Suburbia , beguiling a circle of would-be mystics. And when the Buddha falls in love with one of his disciples, the beautiful and brazen Eva, Karim is introduced to a world of renegade theatre directors, punk rock stars, fancy parties, and all the sex a young man could desire. A love story for at least two generations, a high-spirited comedy of sexual manners and social turmoil, "The Buddha of Suburbia" is one of the most enchanting , provocative, and original books to appear in years.