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The Buddha of Suburbia

The Buddha of Suburbia [Kindle Edition]

Hanif Kureishi
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
Kindle Price: £4.79 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Product Description

Book Description

Beautiful paperback Faber Firsts edition to commemorate Faber's 80th Anniversary.

Product Description

Winner of the Whitbread First Novel Award

'A wonderful novel. I doubt I will read a funnier one, or one with more heart, this year, possibly this decade.' Angela Carter, Guardian

The hero of Hanif Kureishi's first novel is Karim, a dreamy teenager, desperate to escape suburban South London and experience the forbidden fruits which the 1970s seem to offer. When the unlikely opportunity of a life in the theatre announces itself, Karim starts to win the sort of attention he has been craving - albeit with some rude and raucous results.

'One of the best comic novels of growing up, and one of the sharpest satires on race relations in this country that I've ever read.' Independent on Sunday

'Brilliantly funny. A fresh, anarchic and deliciously unrestrained novel.' Sunday Times

'A distinctive and talented voice, blithe, savvy, alive and kicking.' Hermione Lee, Independent

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 528 KB
  • Print Length: 292 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 014013168X
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber Fiction; New edition edition (8 Jan 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI90FO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #24,414 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Celibacy in the suburbs....? I doubt it 17 Sep 2009
Hailing from the borough of Bromley myself (albeit growing up there in a different decade), this book has been on my "I really should read that" list for years. Having finally got round to it (the reading part took only a matter of days, you'll see why below) I thought I may as well do the book the courtesy of setting out my humble thoughts on it.

The pace of the book is quick. It's an uptempo tale taking you from the south London suburbs, to well-heeled Kensington, glamorous New York and back again before you know it. Characters that are bonkers. Characters you'd love to have a beer with. Characters you have an ache in your chest for out of pure sympathy. Characters you would literally do an about turn in the street to avoid.

I don't think it's the place of these reviews to spell out the plot, and other people have taken the trouble in other reviews in any case. But Kureishi captures that longing for meaning and excitement that all (normal) teenagers and people in their early 20s experience, to a tee. People of that age are rightly selfish and need to take things for granted in order to find out what really matters to them.

This book captures that spirit of freedom in life. You never know where you might end up, who with and why. You also never know when you might surprise yourself and just go after something completely different in life to everything you had worked for and previously valued. It's a breath of fresh air and Kureishi's blunt and often brutal prose exploits that essence to the max. He writes it as it is and I like that.

For me the best character in the book is the surburb itself.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
A humerous, intellectual and very observed insight into the growing up of a British Indian, his sexuality, viewpoints, career and family life. Based in the late 70s it encompasses wonderfully all the pains and joys of school to adulthood from the perspective of the voyeur, or should that be involved observer?
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sold on it 8 Jun 2012
For years I was put off reading this book, I thought it had some kind of agenda in mocking suburbanites from an Asian perspective. Well, it does have an agenda - it takes the mick out of pretty much everyone, yes, the Abigail's Party brigade with their worship of central heating and double glazing, the world of Margot and Jerry Ledbetter. But it is even more damning of the Asian community, or perhaps I should say the older generation, who of course would be grandparents today. In particular their misogyny and patriachal nature, and we witness the ebb and flow of power between the sexes.

Some on this site complain about a lack of a plot. Well, I suppose they'd say the same of The Rachel Papers by Martin Amis, it's that sort of narrative. Mainly, it's about a young suburban teenager, Karim, who finds his cosy existance blown apart when his dad, a first generation immigrant who never quite made good, is coopted by the charismatic and ambitious Eva into giving lectures of buddhism and enlightenment. The book is wonderfully observed, and it charts the way Karim hopes to use the tailwind of this development to get away from the boring, suburban life and taste the exotism of the city. There are some very funny lines here, but it's true that the lead narrater doesn't propel events, usually stuff happens to him.

Being a bloke, I'd call it out for a couple of things. Firstly, the narrator has a superiority complex. This is amusing if you also have a bit of a superiority complex. Just about everyone he meets, he skewers in the prose, although of course if Karim were such a naive fellow, coming of age, he wouldn't be that insightful. Really, it's the author who is delivering these verdicts.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny, entertaining, and deeper than you realise 18 Sep 2009
By BookWorm TOP 500 REVIEWER
A great comic novel set in the 1970s, The Buddha of Suburbia is a coming-of-age story centred on Karim. At the start of the story he is a teenager, desperate to escape suburbia. His chance comes when his father reinvents himself as an unlikely new-age guru and runs off with another woman. It did remind me in some ways of Adrian Mole (though it is not written in diary format), particulary the early chapters. There's the same laugh-out-loud observational comedy and dry humour, the same eccentricity, and the same hint of pathos underlying it all. But it's probably a more literary novel than Mole.

Class is an important theme, as is race, but the latter is not made the focus of the book. The differences between the lives and values of the different social classes in Britain are shown to be as big and difficult to bridge as those of race. I liked that the novel took a different angle on the popular culture-clash issue, and presented it in a fresh and original way.

Karim's narrative voice is full of dry wit, and the characters are wonderfully described. Even though some were eccentric, all were believable. The book spans a number of years and is very well paced, showing how characters grow and develop - or stay the same - over time. It is always interesting and entertaining, and you're never too sure what will happen next, although it's not gripping in the conventional thriller sense. Just a minor warning - there's a lot of sex and drugs and punk music - the first quite graphic in places - so the easily offended reader may wish to think again. But it was nothing unreasonable and nothing worse than you'll find in many modern novels.

If you want a book that is funny and that will make you think, this will do the job nicely. It's particularly strong for saying it's a first novel, and I'd be keen to read Kureishi's subsequent works.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brill'
Great condition
Published 10 days ago by TJ MCGINN
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book, full of life and great fun to ...
A great book, full of life and great fun to read. The characters are strange but believable and the story develops in some quite unexpected directions.
Published 10 days ago by PGTips
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Not sure
I think this may be a sort of autobiography. Enjoyable in parts, strange in a 1960's sort of way. I had trouble coming to terms with odd bits. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Merry Bear
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and thought provoking
It was particularly exciting and surprising in most places but seemed to drop pace in some places. A great read!
Published 2 months ago by Izzy
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious
This book is a great read. I should have read this years ago. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I would recommend it.
Published 5 months ago by Lesaires
5.0 out of 5 stars The buddha of suburbia
epic epic epic I loved it though it was really good 18_41 year old would love this book I gave it 5 stars
Published 6 months ago by L M Epton
5.0 out of 5 stars Have finally read it,
This was an easy read. I couldn't put it down. I can't believe it took me so long to read it.
Published 6 months ago by Crafty girl
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read, however unlikely the plot.
Enjoyed the earlier sections and then felt committed to reach the conclusion. Characters range from the believable to the absurd but overall, happy to have read it,
Published 7 months ago by William Lowbridge
3.0 out of 5 stars The Buddha of Suburbia
Having read The Kite Runner I was a bit disappointed with this one. However it certainly has not put me off reading any more by Hanif Kurashi.
Published 7 months ago by Jack McD
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Popular Highlights

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‘We old Indians come to like this England less and less and we return to an imagined India.’ &quote;
Highlighted by 17 Kindle users
What infuriated me – what made me loathe both them and myself – was their confidence and knowledge. The easy talk of art, theatre, architecture, travel; the languages, the vocabulary, knowing the way round a whole culture – it was invaluable and irreplaceable capital. &quote;
Highlighted by 16 Kindle users
But I did feel, looking at these strange creatures now – the Indians – that in some way these were my people, and that I’d spent my life denying or avoiding that fact. I felt ashamed and incomplete at the same time, as if half of me were missing, and as if I’d been colluding with my enemies, those whites who wanted Indians to be like them. &quote;
Highlighted by 15 Kindle users

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