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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Uncomfortable intimacies
That INTIMACY observes the tragic unities of time and place is indicative of its ambition. Kureishi uses the end of a relationship not only to discuss the tension between sexual and domestic intimacy, but also to examine the intimacy shared by narrator and reader: ironically we are able to do for the taciturn Jay what no one can do for him in life - listen while...
Published on 26 Oct 2000

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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well-written, honest and convincing - and yet...
The front cover of this edition of Hanif Kureishi's "Intimacy" proclaims that the book is "controversial." As I turned the final page of the novel, I was at a loss as to what was controversial in what seems to me to be an entirely realistic account of the inner thoughts of a man pondering over doing something that happens all over the UK a hundred times a day: that is,...
Published on 28 Sep 2009 by unlikely_heroine


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Uncomfortable intimacies, 26 Oct 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Intimacy (Paperback)
That INTIMACY observes the tragic unities of time and place is indicative of its ambition. Kureishi uses the end of a relationship not only to discuss the tension between sexual and domestic intimacy, but also to examine the intimacy shared by narrator and reader: ironically we are able to do for the taciturn Jay what no one can do for him in life - listen while "the inner storm of [his] intolerable thoughts blows itself out". Indeed, the novel's chief success is to force on us the complicity this intimacy brings with it. This is an exceptionally well written book. The restraint and elegance of Jay's voice is punctured only by his vulgar treatment of sex, which itself suggests that lust is his fatal flaw. The problem with INTIMACY, however, is that the protagonist is simply too cruel, too cowardly, and too vain for us to sympathize with his vacillation over whether or not he should abandon his children and their mother. This maybe because Kureishi intends us to focus on the internal 'tragedy' of Jay's existential isolation; but if this is the case, Jay's contemptible efforts to yoke his unhappiness to his generation's disillusionment ("If Marx had been our begetter...Freud was our new father, as we turned inwards") and to elevate his lust to the level of a philosophical tenet loom to large. The same is true of the supporting cast, given that it never develops beyond a projection of Jay's psyche. His lover Nina is a gently pornographic fantasy, his cohabitee Susan an emblem of uxorial "competence"; similarly, his freinds Asif and Victor merely exemplify his crudely polarized view of life as a choice between suburban incarceration and hedonistic abandon ("My kingdom for a come"). Because of this INTIMACY leaves you feeling numbed, rather than moved.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A powerful work., 8 May 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Intimacy (Paperback)
I think those reviewers who gave this book a low rating because it was introverted and pretentious are missing the point. It seems to me that the point of the book is not an objective critical examination, but a stream of conciousness work in which Kureishi communicates how he feels. I think it is a very brave work. He makes no effort to gain sympathy from the reader and he makes no apologies. His direction is one of 'this is the way I feel and that is all'. As for the pretention, well, as an aspiring writer myself I do not think it is pretentious at all. The complex emotions involved require complex writing. Kureishi is not afraid to do something different and aim for a style that he feels captures the tone of the novel best, and that is what is so important as a writer.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars abject realism, 19 Jan 2001
This review is from: Intimacy (Paperback)
At first impression this story may appear banal and self-centered, however it is really a rich network of ideas interwoven with self-betrayal, passion, exile and abject realism. Kureishi manages to swirl you around with images from your own life so much that you may find it difficult to stop reading this passionate tale of dark inner truths. You will feel for the main protagonist, be able to relate to his insecurities, be shocked by his behaviour and resent him, sometimes all in one go. This is one of my favourite Kureishi books. I would encourage you to read it if you've ever been in love, ever been fed up with your life circumstances, ever not wanted to go to work or ever dreamt of living on a beach and escaping it all.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Intense Book, 1 Feb 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Intimacy (Paperback)
Kureshi's portrait of the end of a relationship is stunningly honest and engrossing. One can see why he can be accused of selfishness but such honesty makes for an uncomfortable and unsettling read. Thoroughly recommended
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honesty and integrity if not sympathy, 30 April 2008
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Mr. Ian Gillibrand "A dreamer" (Cornwall.UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Intimacy (Paperback)
I loved this book.I am a 40 something now happily married guy and yet can sadly recognise some if not all of the musings and conflicts of Jay, and believe many others (and not just men ) could do the same.Some reviewers have said this is an uncomfortable read ....it is...but none the less enjoyable for that.
Highly recommended to those who can take some self criticsism and be prepared to look at themselves in the mirror!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifull book to make you think, 14 Mar 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Intimacy (Paperback)
This is a book which even though I read it three weeks ago is still in my mind. It really does sum up 'end-of-relationship feelings' the way that beautiful memories go out of the window and become secondary to finding a way out. As a woman reading the book I felt that every day with my husband is a blessing and recognised male traits from the past. A bit maudlin, well worth reading but definitely not if you feel insecure about your relationship...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Confession..., 12 Feb 2010
This review is from: Intimacy (Paperback)
If I was a man, I'd be this man. There it is.
The protagonist is, as other reviewers have pointed out, honest to the point of pain, and portrayed by Kureishi as trapped within the conformity of social expectation. Throughout this necessarily short novel, readers are teased and manipulated into half hating, half loving this curious man who bares his soul. There are moments when we think he'll do 'the right thing' and stay with his family, yet the treat-'em-mean-keep-'em-keen aspect of both the writing style and the character counters this.
Some critics have suggested this is a 'man's novel' about men's thinking at its worst. Whatever. For what it's worth, I believe the reason this is such a powerful narrative is because Kureishi exposes the things we all think about, empathise with and wish for. He forces us to be honest about our own feelings and to confess those dark secrets of our own. Read it, you'll see.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my all time favourites, 5 Jun 2003
This review is from: Intimacy (Paperback)
This is indeed one of my all time favourites. I must say I enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed Proust, Woolf and Hemingway. It is the story of a man who plans to leave his wife, the next morning, and we follow his thoughts through that night. It is utterly frank and honest, and I believe based in true events of Kureishi's life. But this is not what makes it good. Kureishi here makes the break from the forms that have been holding him back for years. The structure of his novels Black Album and Buddha were very conventional and restricted, in my mind, a lot of his talent was cramped and repressed by these walls which he must have thought he needed to be contained in. But he has broken free. His short story work is formidable, and he finds, I think, in these short formats, the ability to express himself with the freedom and honesty of a true artist. The same goes for this short novel. It holds many truths and sublime observations, often simple and insouciant, yet always universal and human. This, I believe, will always be one of my favourite novels, and is, in fact, alongside one or two of Woolf's, my favourite English book. It is by far the best work of contemporary Britain, I think. There is no one around who has achieved this level of artistry, although most writers these days seem concerned only with commercial saleability or technical proficiency. This book is not a feel-good novel, so don;t buy it expecting that. And although it has a certain 'gravitas' about it, it really is a pure and direct form of artistic communication, and for this reason I reccomend it - it should touch a level of emotion reserved only for the greats, and will stay with you, as it did me.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Can't find other male perspectives more honest than his, 5 Nov 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Intimacy (Paperback)
I am usually a slow and a bit impatient reader but
I find this book a page-turner. Kureishi is shockingly honest, from the first page to the last. As a woman reader I am not put off by such
candid male account at all - on the contrary, this
book is an eye-opener, which gives you more than a glimpse of men's inner fears and the urge of running away for 'freedom.'
Wish the parts on cultural and political
influences on mid-aged middle-class couples could
have been more elaborated... Yet I am very much impressed by his candor. This is the first time
I read Kureshi and I think I'd be happy to pick
up more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SO SO True, 4 Feb 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Intimacy (Paperback)
A moving and devastating account of the breakdown of a once perfect marriage. I found the prose uncomfertable and yet so true. Some say 'Peace Perfect Peace' but I wonder if Kureshi will ever find peace.
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Intimacy
Intimacy by Hanif Kureishi (Paperback - 18 Jan 1999)
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