➹ [Read] ➵ The Buddha of Suburbia By Hanif Kureishi ➼ – Iphoneleaks.co.uk

10 thoughts on “The Buddha of Suburbia

  1. says:

    I grew up in a place called Bromley, which is a sort of no man s land between London and Kent, and unclaimed by either Nothing happens there the main activities are adultery and backing out of Waitrose carpark Its list of famous former residents is limited to HG Wells blue plaque outside Argos and David Bowie then plain old David Jones , who went to school at a local polytechnic before running for the hills at the earliest opportunity That twanging pronunciation he has is the Bromley accent par excellence Oh, and Frankie Boyle, who recently tweeted the following My favourite part about this was the local reaction, as reported by the Evening Standard.Furious Bromley residents have hit back at comedian Frankie Boyle after he claimed the south London suburb was like a lobotomy made out of bricks One local said Bromley is great A relatively calm place to live, a reasonable amount of shops and restaurants and great public transport to get into London Do you hear that, Frankie Boyle A reasonable amount of shops and restaurants In your face I had no idea there were any books set in Bromley I suppose if you re from London proper, or Manchester, or even Brighton, you must get used to the idea that various works of art use your hometown as a setting but for me it was a very new experience to read about characters in Orpington High Street or Beckenham or Petts Wood or all the rest of the suburban geography of my childhood.Of course I was there in the 80s and 90s, whereas Karim, the hero of The Buddha of Suburbia is primarily negotiating the 1970s But Bromley doesn t sound too different Karim describes it in the book as being a place of which it was said that when people drowned they saw not their lives but their double glazing flashing before them.This suburban experience is one of the points of the novel, which among other things is a gentle examination of English class relations, particularly as they intersect with race Karim s father is an Indian immigrant, and the casual racism of the 1970s is hovering there in the background For Karim, it s of a peripheral irritation his main concerns are listening to new music and getting laid.He s bisexual, in the sense that he ll sleep with anyone who ll have him.I liked being handled by men, their fists pulling me and I liked objects the ends of brushes, pens, fingers up my arse But I liked cunts and breasts, all of women s softness, long smooth legs and the way women dressed I felt it would be heart breaking to have to choose one or the other, like having to choose between the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.So there is a lot of this sort of heated adolescent self experimentation going on There are many awkward sex scenes described in a similarly detached way, which can be very funny, although after a while I started to find it unnerving too, the clinical obscenities reminding me a bit of the sex scenes in American Psycho although when I mentioned this to a friend she looked at me as if I was mental.Besides the sex, there s a lot of very accurate take offs of the London theatre and media world, self appointed class warriors who predicted the last forty crises out of twenty , as well as some judicious outbreaks of violence I loved this altercation, involving some unusual weaponry As Anwar smacked downwards with his stick, Changez lumbered to one side, just in time, withdrew the knobbly dildo from its paper bag sheath, and with a Muslim warrior shout whacked my uncle smartly over the head with it Uncle Anwar, who d come from India to the Old Kent Road to lodge with a dentist, to jangle and gamble, to make his fortune and return home to build a house like my grandfather s on Juhu Beach, could never have guessed all those years ago that late in life he would be knocked unconscious by a sex aid No fortune teller had predicted this Kipling had written to each his own fear , but this was not Anwar s.I enjoyed the book, but for me it was never laugh out loud funny Partly because I spent the whole time trying to compare these lessons about suburban upbringing to my own experience However I do really like what Karim becomes by the end of the story his acceptance of who he is, where he comes from, and what he knows and doesn t know about because lying about those things is what class is all about to me.People who were only ever half right about things drove me mad I hated the flood of opinion, the certainty, the easy talk about Cuba and Russia and the economy, because beneath the hard structure of words was an abyss of ignorance and not knowing and, in a sense, of not wanting to know.The BBC ran an adaptation of this in the early 90s, starring that guy from Lost, and I kept seeing him in my head when I was reading Local boy done good David Bowie even came back to score all the music for the series It was a brilliant soundtrack, but man, I bet he couldn t wait to leave again Jun 2013

  2. says:

    Funny, thought provoking at times, but mostly mindless ramblings of a confused man And that title is absolutely misleading.

  3. says:

    3 Things about The Buddha of Suburbia 1 i read this one because of my fondness for the movie My Beautiful Laundrette, which was written by this author that movie was so generous, its characters so busy, its perspective so uncomplaining about unruly complicated messy awkward life the book has that same feeling i have a too organized mind and i feel vaguely envious of how Kureishi must see the world, taking in all of the confusion and seeing it as natural, organic, sometimes awful but mainly kinda beautiful that generosity of spirit is the best thing about this delightful but sometimes rather minor note novel it is crammed with life even in suburbia 2 the protagonist is casually bi so am i this is maybe the only other time i ve read of such a protagonist in contemporary literary fiction the other being The Mysteries of Pittsburgh beyond sexuality, Karim tries to be open minded and even handed he often fails utterly and holds things against people that he knows he shouldn t Karim is also a very internal person, yet is surrounded by outgoing people and is part of a dynamic whirl of events, socializing, coming and going, people changing, etc he is a part of different groups while being apart from those groups as well it was a nice experience to read all about a character who showed me a way of looking at myself 3 i should also mention that Karim is a Class A Jerkoff he makes poor decisions he is a condescending know it all who talks on and on and on he s such an asshole at times and was quite hard to deal with at those points it was even harder realizing that i still saw myself in him ah well the best character is actually his friend Jamilla Jammie who has a rather adorably pathetic fiance and is a smart, sensible, rather mean spirited, tough minded, down to earth lady that i would like to marry.

  4. says:

    This book was a lot of fun It has that wryly English sense of humour Through Karim, muddling through playing Mowgli in the Jungle Book, his attachment to his father s new girlfriend, guilt about his mother, his stepbrother s move from mediocre musician to punk icon, the book captures a certain time period in England, and mixes in second generation immigrant issues And a lot of sex.Note The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook

  5. says:

    Very unique story with a fresh perspective on the London suburbs of the 1970s The Immigrant Tale is turned on its head as the main protagonist is an inspiration to anyone ashamed of their sexuality or even too cautious of it The blind cannot lead the blind, Karim knows this intuitively so he just shoots the shit our main man is a Don Juan of a kind, with various sexual experiences under his belt which bathes the reader with an uncommon for literature enthusiasm for his escapades Sexual education we want for Karim, and he does not disappoint Also, the novel is a very close relative to Kureishi s claim to fame My Beautiful Laundrette, which is a great thing Expect similar reaction at the conclusion of this one

  6. says:

    The Buddha of Suburbia had been warmly recommended by a friend, but I don t think he had any idea how much I would bizarrely relate to this book when he recommended it This bildungsroman about the son of an Indian immigrant coming of age in the South London suburbs in the 1970s can seem as far from my life as one can imagine But the thing about Karim s father Haroon, is that he one day improvises himself as a meditation spiritual teacher, and leaves Karim s mother for one of the enthusiastic followers of his proverbial Buddha of suburbia act And that is pretty much exactly what my dad did He s not Indian, and it was the Montreal suburbs, but otherwise, it is the exact same damn story.It didn t make my reading experience awkward or uncomfortable at all if anything, it made Karim very endearing to me Of course, he s a selfish little prick, but he s 19, and I have never known 19 year olds to be anything other than self involved and hysterically hormonal A lot of what he does is awkward, clumsy and it would be How do you figure out who you are when you are constantly confronted with other people s perception of you that you feel are completely off the mark Karim s father is Indian, but his mom is white he considers himself an Englishman, but other people think of him as an immigrant because of his skin tone His search for identity is as much about multiculturalism as it is about class division and confusion.I came to realize that many other characters Karim was drawn to were not as different from him as they might seem many of them share this feeling of being on the outside looking in, of trying really hard to be something they aren t to the point where they entirely forget who they are Charlie is not a punk, but when he sees that reinventing himself as another Johnny Rotten will put him on the map than his own style will, he goes for it Eva dreams of the privileged bohemian life Karim s girlfriend Eleanor was born into, and tries very hard to create it around herself but the very act of trying gives her away as a fraud All these people defined by others perception of them I found this book very funny, it a rather unique way there was a good dose of that good old dry British humor I love so much, but there was also a subtle touch of something else, a bitter sweetness that seems to simply be Kureishi s own voice When Karim accidentally gets cast as Mowgli by a spectacularly clueless theatre director, I think I groaned out loud and again when he is told to speak with a real Indian accent for the role , as I did when his cousin Jamila befriends the prostitute her husband frequents.Speaking of Jamila, she is incredible raised by traditional Muslin parents, she is a strong willed, clever, stubborn, radical and liberated young woman who submits to the arranged marriage her parents want for her, but subverts the whole thing by moving with her poor hapless husband in the weirdest setting imaginable.I m going to be re reading this one 4 and a half stars.

  7. says:

    I have recently read Turgenev s Sketches from a Hunter s Album, where he quotes an anecdote about a Frenchman who somehow got lost in Russia after Napoleon s hasty retreat and after being captured by villagers ready to lynch him he was rescued by an aristocrat who was looking for a French and piano teacher for his daughters It didn t matter that the said Frenchman couldn t actually play the piano, his Frenchness gave him all the credibility he needed.We find a similar situation in the Buddha of Suburbia where Karim s father, Muslim raised according to very English ideals, all of a sudden decides to become a yoga, meditation, all the New Age mumbo jumbo guru and rises to fame in the suburbs of London, where his dark skin serves for all the credentials he might need.Karim, his mixed race, second generation immigrant son doesn t really suffer from an identity crisis until people tell him to and try to tell him to be this or that He plays Mowgli in a play and is told by the director to fake an Indian accent to be authentic When he joins a different theatre troupe he is reprimanded by fellow people of colour for not representing his race the way he should.But here is the beauty of this book Karim doesn t define himself in any way He does start his book by saying he is an Englishman of a new breed but that s all you will hear about it He seems to be attracted to men and women both, but he will never say whether he is heterosexual, or homosexual, or even bisexual For most of the book he doesn t seem to need any labels and is bemused by the fact other people need them to categorise their world All he wants is just to get laid and get out of the suburbs before they smother him This is what he will go on doing leaving the hard task of making sense of everything to the reader.As far as coming of age novels go, this one is a gem This is what Vernon God Little tried to be but failed a satire that despite being genuinely funny feels also raw and authentic The emotions don t get lost in caricatures.There is still the feel of a late day hippy liberalism but with the birth of punk you can already see the signs of proto Thatcherism and Kureishi captures that zeitgeist superbly.I have heard that in his later novels Kureishi have shown some sexist tendencies please note this is only anecdotal and I don t actually know what I m talking about , but I can t see any traces of this in The Buddha of Suburbia which features a few great female characters who provide us with very interesting background plotlines to concentrate on when the main character needs a break.All in all, a well rounded debut novel, deservingly described as a kind of modern classic.

  8. says:

    This is a really neat and actually funny British Asian novel It s not the best thing since sliced armadilloes but it lies around pleasantly in my memory as a number of other better novels don t For some reason the relationship between this gal Jamilla and the hapless goon who gets foisted on her in a hideous arranged marriage kind of way has remained with me almost like I met them once Jamilla is one of the coolest women ever Or maybe just one of the most bad tempered She s the punk grand daughter of Daisy, the unflappable promoter of contraception in The Painter of Signs by Narayan Some days I think you could spend your life reading Indian novelists There are lots of worse things to do with your time.

  9. says:

    There were three contemporary TV dramas I remember really speaking to me when I was a teenager The Lakes, The Crow Road and The Buddha of Suburbia All carried the sound of life revving up and starting to happen, and said that things were about to get a whole lot interesting Now approximately twenty years separates me from watching The Buddha of Suburbia in the 90s, as the same span back then separated the series from its setting in the 70s I should have read and treasured this book long ago The first paragraph and the whole book still carries that same sense of promise and excitement My name is Karim Amir, and I am an Englishman born and bred, almost I am often considered to be a funny kind of Englishman, a new breed as it were, having emerged from two old histories But I don t care Englishman I am though not proud of it , from the South London suburbs and going somewhere Perhaps it is the odd mixture of continents and blood, of here and there, of belonging and not, that makes me restless and easily bored Or perhaps it was being brought up in the suburbs that did it Anyway, why search the inner room when it s enough to say that I was looking for trouble, any kind of movement, action and sexual interest I could find, because things were so gloomy, so slow and heavy, in our family, I don t know why Quite frankly, it was all getting me down and I was ready for anything.Maybe he spoke those words at the opening of the first episode I can t recall for sure and I hadn t dared re watch it recently Nevertheless I remember a fantastic first scene in which he was getting changed to the sound of Get It On by T Rex These and so many other lines strike a chord or express something perfectly perhaps it s because of the thrill of nostalgia and because they were formative when I first heard them all that time ago they are right because to me they are among the originals Perhaps that s also why the whole book seems perfectly pitched, sort of an old fashioned British comic novel of eccentric families and cartoonishly cool friends, yet, unlike that often conservative form Kingsley Amis etc , it s on the side of characters who are Indian immigrants, bisexuals, left wingers, hippies and arty types of all stripes Affectionate satire, like the hint of authorial knowingness in Karim s voice I wanted to live always this intensely mysticism, alcohol, sexual promise, clever people and drugs You care despite or because his ambition is a teenage cliche especially from the days before university tuition fees as one of the last cohort who didn t have to pay, I remember the sudden seriousness of the younger ones who, to our eyes, were doing too much work too early and didn t seem to get our old fashioned idea of what being a student was about.I suppose there are one or two scenes that don t quite work, and one or two characters who could have been better drawn, yet it barely seems to matter There are so many memorable people here and they feel so familiar and magical that it seems daft my trying to list and describe them It s academic that I didn t actually read the book twenty years ago I have all the affection and longing kinship for it that I have for firm favourites from then, such as The Secret History, and often it would make me feel as if everything was still to happen, just as if I d been reading it two decades ago And it manages to be funny, sexy, political and grubbily glamorous It s not like Karim has an entirely easy time, but, as I also keep thinking when I flick through the graphic novel Nelson which I can t yet bring myself to actually read , in this book is a life I would like to have lived.

  10. says:

    I ve been reading Kureishi backwards, starting with Intimacy, then Something to Tell You, and now his first novel, The Buddha of Suburbia Intimacy was a traumatic read for me it was Kureishi s barely fictionalized account of walking out on his partner and his two young sons and it was unapologetic Intimacy was infuriating, but beautifully written, and it made me want to find out what makes Kureishi tick Intimacy was very spare, the action taking place in just one day, and most of the action was psychological Odd, since he s best known for his screenplays like My Beautiful Laundrette and Sammy and Rosie Get Laid By contrast, this first novel revels in detail and takes its time with plot, which can be summed up loosely as a coming of age story The book is so funny and his perceptions of race, place London in the late 70s , class, and sexual desire are so original and direct that I felt I was chatting with an eccentric friend Kureishi s boundaries may seem blurred at first he s attracted to men and women, his family is split and his father is Pakistani and his mother s caucasian but he s never in a real quandary He s always the observer, asking questions, making astute perceptions, and his detachment and humor make him bold and confident He s irresistible

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download The Buddha of Suburbia, read online The Buddha of Suburbia, kindle ebook The Buddha of Suburbia, The Buddha of Suburbia 87bd626520e9 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 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 Theater 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