The Black Album (Penguin/Faber audiobooks) Audio Cassette – Abridged, Audiobook
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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
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.
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
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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