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Something to Tell You
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on 20 January 2018
The narrative switches effortlessly between past and present, there's an authenticity in the characterisation that is captivating. I've read The Buddha of Suburbia and The Black Album and thoroughly enjoyed both books. However there's a depth to the characterisation in this novel that makes it far more difficult and yet more rewarding, as our understanding of the characters is built up through shifts in time that add greater colour to The characterisation. The author blends high and low culture effortlessly. A great read !
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on 20 December 2011
Well, our all-male book club, me included, got drawn in by the cover jokily depicting scenes form the Kama Sutra while critics praised it and just inside the cover we were reminded that this same author had delighted us with My Beautiful Laundrette and Buddha of Suburbia...we really should know better. Tempted by a little light relief and gratuitous sex we were instead treated to pretentious drivel written in the first person that casts grave doubt in my mind on this author's view of himself.

The plot was thin and lacked credibility, the dialogue was clunky, and this book should definitely have had a nomination for the Literary review's annual Bad Sex in Fiction Award with lines like "When I did eventually come - it was hard work: I felt as if I'd shoved a heavy train through a long tunnel". I have never highlighted so many passages in a book on my Kindle before because I was struck by how bad they were.

I read a review which suggested Kureishi had skillfully built the tension about the murder. Well, I was obviously reading a different book because no such feat was pulled off in the book I was reading and at the end this supposed tension was left to just implode into nothing. Woe betide that the central character should carry any blame or fault. When male authors write in the first person and their characters are seemingly irresistible to women, blameless in everything even though they have done dodgy things, successful, intellectual, handsome etc. am I only one who suspects a bit of projection is going on? Stieg Larsson got away with it because his characters are so fascinating and the plot is enthralling, Kureishi cannot.

So glad to have finished this book and be able to move on to something else.
One person found this helpful
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on 13 March 2014
Intimacy is a very brave , honest and painful account from a male perspective , of a marriage break down.
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on 19 February 2015
Product arrived in perfect codition
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VINE VOICEon 27 February 2009
I enjoyed reading this book although it took quite a long time to read and I can't really explain what hooked me in.
It read like a self therapy session for Jamal, going over his past to try to find the reason in his present.
My main criticism is that the situations did seem a little extreme, particularly any part of the book involving Miriam which waivered between the very believeable to the completely unimaginable.
The story, however, seemed to flow well enough and I found myself almost accepting Jamal's lifestyle as "normal" as I was sucked into the plot.
3 people found this helpful
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VINE VOICEon 7 September 2010
Having loved most of Kureishi's other books, I anticpated oh so much more. It's not rubbish, but not brilliant either (I managed to pick it up and read in large chunks, but am unsure whether that's because I was desparate to know what happens, or desparate to finish and get on with something else); the latter probably wins.

The story follows 50(ish) Jamal as he looks back over life, and the devestating events by which he lost his first love. All of the characters come across as shallow, living for nothing more than kinky sex and drugs. After the revelation of what Jamal has to tell us, there is little more to the story, and even that is predicatable, with clues given up to this point, which is less than halfway through the novel.

I personally found both Miriam (Jamal's sister) and her beau Henry particualrly irritating.... roll overs from the 80s "luvvies" who still live in the manner that decade imposed on them.

One for Kureishi comppletists; if you are new to his writing, please, I implore you, read The Buddha of Suburbia, which you will find infinetly more rewarding!
6 people found this helpful
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on 26 August 2012
Jamal Khan, the central figure and narrator, of Hanif Kureishi's colorful and highly literate new novel, "Something to Tell You," leads a cast of the most interesting, if neurotic, self-indulgent, self-pitying characters in recent serious fiction.

The novel is based on the recollections of the middle-aged Khan, an Anglo-Indian psychoanalyst, of his life as a quiet, rather confused son of an Indian Muslim father and middle-class English mother and the brother of a neo-hippy, earth-mother sister. He eventually finds professional solace and success as a shrink to some of London's most prominent and least prominent mentally-challenged citizens. While his professional life is stellar, Dr. Khan's personal life has frequently been a sex-driven shambles.

Largely driven by a "busy Id", he seriously louses up the great passion of his life and eventually loses a wife that he once was obsessed with. His one constant, unwavering love is the one that he jealously guards for his twelve-year old son, Rafi.

The story is ultimately an agonizing--for the protagonist, Khan--attempt to find some balance between sex and love in a life littered with obsessions, dysfunctional family relationships, professional success and A-list recognition, and personal failure. This is equally the story of arrested-development, excess and lack of personal restraint. Not surprisingly, these are exactly the qualities that make this novel wildly interesting, hilarious and even lovable. Reading the book is roughly akin to watching several simultaneous trainwrecks in progress at different times stretching from the early 1960s to 2005 when major-league terrorism visited Britiain again.

This is a great read, with wonderful use of language, marvelous characters and non-linear story-telling.
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on 27 January 2012
having loved the Buddha of Suburbia by the same author, I was curious to see what he had to tell me in this book....but after barely managing to read I have to say that his attempt at writing about something other than the hybrid identity of Indian/Pakistani individuals in England has led to a flop in my eyes.

Sure, if I hadn't read his first book I would have been less harsh in my criticism, and my expectations would have been lower, but his characters, especially that of the narrator's sister, Miriam, are just so unbelievable and so farfetched in their decadence that I found it hard even to laugh at several parts in which his observations were definitely accurate and to the point.

The idea of a psychoanalyst talking about his secrets is compelling, but for some reason the book felt like Hanif Kuerishi was trying to play a part he always wanted, but didn't fit in.
2 people found this helpful
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on 3 June 2012
I was not impressed by this book. In fact I found it irritating. It characterises a certain middle-aged, reasonably well-off, professional middle-class of social commentators trying to justify lives unrealised, both professionally and privately. Short-comings are translated as if unavoidable faintly chaotic consequences of "just the way life is". This is only possible when you have the money to be comfortable and a structure of society that can allow self-indulgence to cling on from adolescence through to late middle-age. The plot is implausible and the characters are shallow caricatures, convenient vehicles for clichéd positions. After all, we are all just muddling through as best we can, all a little attractively crazy, without responsibility or blame aren't we? Come on, grow up.
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I used to love Hanif Kureishi's books. He wrote smart, witty, thought provoking and funny dramas about real life that just sparkled with life. Then he wrote Intimacy, which I struggled with because I thought it was self indulgent and selfish and far too based on his own life for comfort. After that I stopped reading him. I saw this book and thought I deserved to give him another go. Surely he couldn't go on being that self obsessed?

Unfortunately I think he has, and that most of the things that made him great are now subsumed by a need to parade around being somehow edgy, and justifying why it's ok to be shallow and have the morals of a delinquent tom cat. I am not a prude but I felt that this relied far too much on dropping a 'shocking' sex scene into the writing every twenty pages or so, and not enough on pushing the story forward. I wanted to know more about Jamal's feelings about the situation between Ajita and her father, not about how many hookers he slept with. Lots of promising storylines are set up, and the exploration of the self and how it fits into family and the ageing process were, on occasion handled deftly and with some interesting insights, and then lost under all the sex.

I found it tedious and kind of dead. Which is a shame, because I used to find such pleasure in his work, but I don't know if I could bring myself to try another one after this.
3 people found this helpful
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