Gabriel's Gift Mass Market Paperback – 27 Jan 2001
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Gabriel's Gift is in many ways an old-fashioned coming-of-age novel that gives early adolescent angst its full pathos but Kureishi is saved from the potential mawkishness of his subject by prose attuned to the streets, pubs and people he writes about:
The place was full of childish men from the post office and the local bus garage gazing up at the big TV screen. Dad's grey-faced mates were playing pool. They all looked the same to Gabriel with their roll-ups, pints and musty clothes. They rarely went out into the light, unless they stood outside the pub on a sunny day, and they were as likely to eat anything green, as they were to drink anything blue or wear anything pink.
Gabriel's gift is that he is an artist trying to find his own colour-palette in the grey-tinged North London world described above and overcome the pain his parents' messy personal lives cause him. A meeting with Lester Jones, an ageing glam rock star, and former pal of Gabriel's somewhat hapless dad gives him the energy and opportunity to embark on his task of self-making and finding a better place in the world. Lester's lesson is that Gabriel's life and work need to be one thing. Gabriel's ally on this path is the voice of his remembered twin brother Archie. En route, his parents reconcile; his father finds some sense of purpose in teaching guitar and important friendships with his schoolmate Zak and the local gay restaurateur, Speedy, are formed.
The tentative sweetness of its protagonist remains the novels greatest strength. The writing is wistful, almost whimsical, though one misses a little of the anarchic nastiness that characterised the best of Kureishi's earlier work. --Neville Hoad
"'Each book has been better than the last, and this is no exception... the writing in this book is sparer than in his earlier work, with cracking dialogue.' Daily Telegraph"See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Gabriel's character is beautifully described and Kureishi evokes real empathy towards him from the reader using his usual brands of black humour and tragi-comedy. His dysfunctional parents are similarly three dimensional and almost Beckettian in their comical pathos.
The 'gift' itself is for the reader to interpret. Is it the picture given to him by a fading rock star, his own talent or the outcome of the story falling in line with his deepest wishes - and those of the reader?
A short, easy, modern read - perfect for tube or train journeys or those with a short attention span who still want to nourish their mind!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In Gabriel's dad, Hanif creates a character which has to be loved by every kid. Popular, charismatic, iconic, rebel, and most of all someone who has seems to have a lot more time... Read morePublished on 7 Oct. 2013 by tariqmuda
Having enjoyed a number of Kureishi's works (particularly Buddha of Suburbia) I was looking forward to his recent effort. What a disappointment. Read morePublished on 3 July 2001
Hanif Kureishi's new novel is meant to be a tender examination of family life, father-son relations, art, adolescence, and the embers of celebrity. Read morePublished on 11 April 2001