Most helpful critical review
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 30 March 2010
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