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The Black Album (Revolutionary Writing) Paperback – 17 Jun 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main - Revolutionary Writing edition (17 Jun. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571258158
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571258154
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 400,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

Book Description

The Black Album by Hanif Kureishi, set in London in the year of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the fatwah against Salman Rushdie, is a thriller with a characteristically lively background: raves, ecstasy, religious ferment and sexual passion in a dangerous time.

About the Author

Hanif Kureishi is the author of novels (including Something to Tell You, The Buddha of Suburbia, The Black Album and Intimacy), story collections (Love in a Blue Time, Midnight All Day, The Body), plays (including Outskirts, Borderline and Sleep With Me), and screenplays (including My Beautiful Laundrette, My Son the Fanatic and Venus). Among his other publications are the collection of essays Dreaming and Scheming, The Word and the Bomb and the memoir My Ear at his Heart.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By big bad Bob on 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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is one of those rare books that I have read before albeit seventeen years ago when pretending to be an idealistic student. I liked it back then and I love it now.

It tells the tale of Shahid, a British late-teenager of Pakistani origins and his desire to open his mind through reading and study at a run down, London college. There, he meets several people of huge, conflicting influence on his life. Deedee, a college lecturer, a child of the liberal sixties, stimulates both his mind and body, not always legally one might add. He also meets a group of more extreme muslim students and it is the conflict of satisfying Deedee and this group that is a central theme of this book. This is most evident in the issue of the fatwa issued on Salman Rushdie for his book, 'The Satanic Verses'. The group is determined to support the fatwa and hold their own book-burning session while Shahid wrestles with himself over this arguing several times that we should not be afraid of the written word and instead use it to challenge ourselves regularly.

What makes this book more fascinating for me this time around is the fact that I read it both before and after 9/11. It makes it so relevant and interesting and is a depiction of a small part of the timeline that lead up to that awful day.

This book is an absolute must for all lover of literature, no matter what the genre, to read. The book is not without Kureishi's sense of humour and his support for Shahid and his intellectual dilemmas is clear to see.
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Format: Paperback
So you’re an Asian young man in London for the first time. What do you find? A strip club. A launderette where they steal your clothes. Not a promising start is it? Nobody knows who you are beyond merely the colour of your skin.

Nor is it to be in a house where the neighbours post lighted rags through the letter box, smash the windows and generally terrorised you because you are Asian. Yet this happened a lot and groups of bodyguards grew up to help and sit with these people.

No wonder Muslims retreat in the need to belong, caught between East and West.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 28 Dec. 1999
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The message was a warning about young men today
I now think about how the movement grows in the West.
I read it but kept putting it down.
full of extraneous description.
Worth reading
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful By lovelypoppy@hotmail.com on 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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