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The Buddha of Suburbia

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Overview

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 theater directors, punk rock stars, fancy parties, ...

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Overview

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 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.

A love story for at least two generstions, 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. "A wickedly funny novel that's at once a traditional comedy of manners and a scathing satire on race relations in Britain."--The New York Times.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Midway through the first page of this delectable first novel by screenwriter Kureishi ( My Beautiful Laundrette ; Sammy and Rosie Get Laid ), the 17-year-old narrator--``My name is Karim Amir, and I am an Englishman born and bred, almost''--observes that the plodding existence he has shared with his Indian father and English mother is about to undergo a disorienting change. The catalyst is the father, a civil servant and self-proclaimed guru whose falling in love with one of his followers precipitates events that propel his restless son out of the suburbs and into the fast lane. Karim relates these developments in a series of erotically charged episodes no less charming for their undercurrent of desperation. Though continually yanked about among disparate cultures, classes, colors, even genders--``I felt it would be heartbreaking to have to choose one or the other, like having to decide between the Beatles and the Rolling Stones''--Karim never loses his capacity for affectionate mockery. Resembling a modern-day Tom Jones , this is an astonishing book, full of intelligence and elan. 25,000 first printing; first serial to Mother Jones; QPB alternate;author tour. (May)
Library Journal
Kureishi is the author of two controversial screenplays, My Beautiful Launderette (1985) and Sammy and Rosie Get Laid (1987). This novel, written in a similar vein, deals with many of the same themes: father-son relations, punk rock, bisexuality, and class and racial prejudices in England. The story is told through the eyes of Karim Amir, ``an Englishman born and bred, almost.'' Karim is a Holden Caulfield-like character who observes and analyzes the shortcomings of his society as he moves out of London's suburbs into the larger world. The book provides a witty, satiric view of English popular culture in the 1960s and 1970s, but it is fairly thin on plot and character development. This may be one instance where the movie version will actually be better than the book.-- William Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140131680
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/28/1991
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 374,146
  • Product dimensions: 5.24 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.53 (d)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2005

    A book about finding identity

    The book is very indicative of the time in which it was written. Set just before Thatcher's era in British history, this novel takes a look at many of the cultural issues that were being questioned by society, particularly in regard to sexuality, race, religion, tolerance, success, and drugs. The story centers around Karim, an English-Indian young man who is trying to figure himself out. The characters are pretty intense: Karim, the selfish and spoiled boy Haroon, his Indian father who has become a buddhist Eva, the exuberant woman that Haroon has a relationship with and Charlie, Eva's brooding and unhappy son. Kureishi does an excellent job of creating tension between his characters while managing a clear style that is easy for the reader to follow. I felt that the book lacked focus at different points in the novel, and many of the characters' reactions to events seemed improbable at best. I read the book for a graduate English course in contemporary literature, and though it wasn't horrible, I don't anticipate picking it up anytime in the future.

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