Saturday, August 23, 2008

By ERICA WAGNER writing in The New York Times Book review, August 22, 2008

How startling to realize that it’s nearly a quarter-century since “My Beautiful Laundrette” — the film that kicked off Hanif Kureishi’s literary career with such daring and panache — brilliantly toyed with our perceptions of Thatcherite Britain. Kureishi’s screenplay, with its portrait of Pakistani immigrant society and an unlikely love affair between one of its members and a former member of the National Front — the United Kingdom’s own fascists — was both subversion and celebration, and heralded the arrival of a writer with a truly fresh eye.

By Hanif Kureishi
Scribner (US) Faber (UK) US$26

But in later years, as Kureishi has turned toward the form of the novel, a certain staleness has crept in. His new novel, “Something to Tell You,” is set in Kureishi’s home turf of West London — but a West London that’s a pallid echo of the one depicted in his first novel, “The Buddha of Suburbia” (1990). That book won the Whitbread Award for best first novel, and deservedly so — its energy and humor are apparent even in its title. Now, a kind of terminal exhaustion seems to have set in. “Something to Tell You”? It could be about anything, couldn’t it?

To read Wagner's full review go to the New York Times online.
And to read an earlier review on this blog link here.

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