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The Black Album [Paperback]

Hanif Kureishi
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 April 1996
Shahid is a clean-cut student, trying to make an impression on his college lecturer, Deedee Osgood, who gives his spirits a lift when she takes him to a naked rave party. Shahid's academic prospects are threatened by the intervention of his gangster brother Chili, who, with his Armani suits and Gucci loafers, moves into Shahid's bedsit as a hideout, bringing unnecessary danger and excitement with him. Set in London in 1989, the year of the fall of the Berlin wall and the fatwah, The Black Album is a thriller with a characteristically lively background: raves, ecstasy, religious ferment and sexual passion in a dangerous time.


Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber; New edition edition (1 April 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571177522
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571177523
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.6 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 477,295 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author

Hanif Kureishi was born and brought up in Kent. He read philosophy at King's College, London. In 1981 he won the George Devine Award for his plays Outskirts and Borderline, and in 1982 he was appointed Writer-in-Residence at the Royal Court Theatre. In 1984 he wrote My Beautiful Laundrette, which received an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay. His second screenplay Sammy and Rosie Get Laid (1987) was followed by London Kills Me (1991) which he also directed. The Buddha of Suburbia won the Whitbread Prize for Best First Novel in 1990 and was made into a four-part drama series by the BBC in 1993. His version of Brecht's Mother Courage has been produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre. His second novel, The Black Album, was published in 1995. With Jon Savage he edited The Faber Book of Pop (1995). His first collection of short stories, Love in a Blue Time, was published in 1997. His story My Son the Fanatic, from that collection, was adapted for film and released in 1998. Intimacy, his third novel, was published in 1998, and a film of the same title, based on the novel and other stories by the author, was released in 2001 and won the Golden Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival. His play Sleep With Me premièred at the Royal National Theatre in 1999. His second collection of stories, Midnight All Day, was published in 2000. Gabriel's Gift, his fourth novel, was published in 2001. The Body and Seven Stories and Dreaming and Scheming, a collection of essays, were published in 2002. His screenplay The Mother was directed by Roger Michell and released in 2003. In 2004 he published his play When The Night Begins and a memoir, My Ear At His Heart. A second collection of essays, The Word and the Bomb, followed in 2005. His screenplay Venus was directed by Roger Michell in 2006. His novel Something to Tell You was published in 2008.In July 2009 his adaptation of his novel, The Black Album, opened at the National Theatre, prior to a nation-wide tour. In 2010 his Collected Stories were published.He has been awarded the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Depressing.... 30 Mar 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book as "The Buddha of Suburbia" (also by Kureishi) which I had intended to buy, was not in stock.

The cover blurb seemed good, promising an insight into modern issues of multiculturalism in Britain.

Sadly, the cover really is the best bit. The main characters are one-dimensional, and you can easily tell what each of them is going to do before you read it. The plot which these characters inhabit lurches about violently, leaving the reader feeling disconnected from the story. The main protagonist (and indeed, most characters in the book) are pretty unpleasant, and it is hard to feel empathy with them, or the situations they get themselves into. The depiction of London is of a trashy, drug-riddled waste ground devoid of dignity or hope (I know London is no utopia, but really it isn't THIS bad)

The main sticking point though, is that the multicultural issues are not addressed, just talked around or used to ignite another (predictable) confrontation. I really did want to like this book, and to get some newer understanding of a complex issue from it, however, it isn't likeable or complex in itself.

On the plus side, there are vivid little scenes that mad me laugh out loud, so 2 stars overall, but, I would not recommend it.

I noticed that "Buddha of Suburbia" is now back in stock - I will give this a go and hopefully see Kureishi in a more favourable light
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
The life experiences of young second generation British Asians are rather familiar Kureishi territory and sad to say this book panders to stereotype rather too much, especially in the depiction of the extremist Muslim characters which are crude and one-dimensional. The dialogue too is sometimes clumsy and unbelievable, and the novel's discussion of literature borders on the pretentious. On the positive side, however, the various clashes evident in Shahid's personality are drawn out for all they are worth and it is clear the author has real insight into the problem of confused cultural identity, which allows for an interesting examination of the psychology of Shahid's tentative rejection of Western values.
NK
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The readers ignorence takes away from this book 31 Mar 2001
Format:Paperback
This book is about issues which are very alien to most western readers. Islam is seen by the west to be linked to terrorism and violence, but this book deals with the effect of islamic fundementalism in a different way. I read this book when i was in iran and the choices which the main protagonist must face between the 'free' western hedonistic attitude as represented by dedee, and the opposing islamic ideals seem very real. The fall of the Berlin Wall has nothing to do with this idea and personal struggle, the islamic reveloution in iran, which Kureshi mentions in the book is one of the 'current issues' which is most important in the influence of the idealistic chracters. This is a story about being muslim, and more importantly being a muslim who has grown up with fundimentally western attitudes and ideas. The style may seem confused at times, but is only seems to be reflecting the confusion felt by almost every one of it's charaters, through the clash of an increasingly hedonistic west, verses the upheval and re-exploration of islam in the modern world.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I loved this book and found it well written and pertinent to many of the issues of a multicultural society. It addresses the problems of growing up as a British Asian and the tension between traditional and liberal values. It is very relevant to these days of cultural antagonism and also very amusing and touching. I think everyone should read this book. The plot is not confusing and the story is relevant to our times.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rushdie without prentention 14 July 2003
Format:Paperback
Compared to "The Buddha of suburbia", I felt "The black album" was a little overconstructed, self-conscious and the plot was maybe a bit farfetched. It lacked some of the lightness and humour which I really liked in "The Buddha..."
Still, this is a fine novel about identity and multiculturalism. Clever, straightforward, sparkling.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SPLIT LOYALTIES 19 Sep 2007
Format:Paperback
Kureishi has brought up a number of issues which British-Asians go through everyday. His story has a number of twists and turns which keeps the reader captivated throughout from the main character's personal struggles Kureishi revisits territory familiar from his film-script "My Beautiful Laundrette" and his debut novel "The Buddha of Suburbia". A highly relevant story on multi-culturalism and the 'state of the nation' during the Thatcher years, focusing on relations between races and the predicament of British youth. More specifically it engages with the controversies surrounding the imposition of the fatwa on Salman Rushdie in 1989. Pre-occupied with popular culture and music, the novel takes it title from an album by Prince. Price is a key symbol within the text of the enabling potential of cultural hybridism in expanding received models of national and ethnic identity, thus challenging the fundamentalist of metropolitan racism and 3rd world politics alike. Recommended read!
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some of the best stories I've ever read. 26 Jan 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
He's got style, but not in any exagerated sense. And anyway its the material that grabs you. Very human- the material, his characters aren't so much out of the ordinary, but Kureishi wrings out of them these cooly intense, never contrived kinds of feelings. More importantly I'm 22, Eritrean, grew up in CA, and I don't think I've ever read a book that made this kind of a connection with me. Anyway I think a lot of you displaced foreign born kids out there will really be vibing with his stuff.
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