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Something to Tell You

3.22 of 5 stars 3.22  ·  rating details  ·  1,219 ratings  ·  148 reviews
Jamal Khan, a psychoanalyst in his fifties living in London, is haunted by memories of his teens: his first love, Ajita; the exhilaration of sex, drugs and politics; and a brutal act of violence which changed his life for ever. Jamal's teenage traumas make a shocking return into his present life.
Paperback, 520 pages
Published 2009 by Faber and Faber (first published 2008)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,208)
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Julia Walsh
It took me 20 days to battle through this book and I wish I hadn't bothered. It was such a huge let down. Intimacy was so powerful, fearless and beautiful, that I couldn't wait to get stuck into this. It just totally failed to deliver.

Kureishi tries to shoehorn so many themes into ths novel (immigration, race, parenthood, growing old, sex, drugs, london in the 70s, guilt, love) that it's not surprising it feels unfinished, wishy-washy and rambling. Nothing is explored fully and it left me feeli
...more
Rachel Aloise
If psychoanalysis is about cutting to the heart of things, as I truly believe it is, then Hanif Kureishi promises a lot with this tale, narrated by a psychoanalyst in his fifties whose past catches up with him—an ingenious spin on the return of the repressed. Inspired by the analytic process, Kureishi aims 'to live without illusions. I want to look at reality straight. Without hiding. No more bullshit.' Still, there is a lot of it in this book. I was surprised, disappointed even, that the narrat ...more
Ciara
Dec 23, 2008 Ciara rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: kureishi fans, budding psychotherapists, S/M club trawlers
i bought this because i quite like nahif kureishi. i know i have written in other reviews about my weird issues reading fictional accounts of sexual activities, & it still squicks me out when kureishi does it (& he does it A LOT), but he seems to bring a little dignity to it, so i tolerate it better. the protaganist of this tale in a bristish psychotherapist if indian descent. he is divorced & has a 13-year-old son who lives with his mother & is getting way into american rap musi ...more
Trevor
Saturated in Freudian material, thought, understanding, interpretation, word-play, fathers and sons, father murder, sexual perversity, a sort of polymorphous perversity coming at you all the time. Hanif Kureishi clearly has also acquainted himself with Lacan.
This is a confessional sort of novel, classless but about being of Pakistani origins in modern London. Very honest about human behaviour and so cutting out a lot of pretentious stuff that creeps into novels. Here people behave as Freud woul
...more
Magdalena
Hanif Kureishi’s latest novel Something to Tell You follows the first person musings of Jamal Karim, a psychoanalyst who is in the late stages of mid-life. Jamal has a secret, and seems to have reached a point where the secret has reached its nexus, and he either must face it, or collapse. The language of the book is confident, and often rich, reflecting the insular nature of the protagonist, and the setting is full of the vibrancy of the period in which this book moves: from Jamal’s past in the ...more
Andrew
Lots of lapsed Muslims squirt semen on one another amid punk rockers and champagne socialists right as London lost its swing. Yes, it's a Hanif Kureishi novel. And a pretty good one. Like the Buddha of Suburbia, it is, at the very least, wildly entertaining and witty. Not a masterpiece, and with a bit of a limp-dick ending, but about as ideal a beach read as I could imagine. Even if it made me terrified of how I'll feel about sex when I'm 50.
Camille
When I first heard that Hanif Kureishi had a new novel out, I could barely contain myself, but oh how I should have. What a shame. Hip and irreverent cousin Hanif has turned into self indulgent, rambling, and slightly creepy uncle Hanif.

This pointless and pretentious story full of a myriad of uninteresting, indistinguishable, and sometimes even implausible characters doing things you could care less about to even less interestings consequences is undoubtedly the product of a horribly-bourgeois,
...more
Daniel Cunha
Maybe its because I read the black album 10 years too late, maybe its the subject matter which is closer to my reality. But this is my Kureishi favourite. I love it for all the usual reasons - the raw, sharp wit, the contemporary subject, the characters and all their flaws and failures, with or without redepmtpion. This one left me with the good feeling that life can be as bizarre, anguishing, disconnected, and yet that all the strangeness can be oddly normal and homely.
Saleem Khashan
Disclaimer “I really want to have coffee with Hanif Kuraishsi, would love to hug him”
Smooth telling, coherent links between the little actions of the different little stories of the characters, entertaining, respectable vocabulary if sometimes pretentious (but I love it). This book found me scrutinizing mistakes and pitfalls of the novelist and there were not many I could find.
It’s the story of middle life crises where multiple characters find themselves with much of their life behind them they
...more
Alex
This is a big wavering line. Kureishi has some interesting things to say about the human condition but for a hundred or more pages at a time I loathed the story and everything in it. I think part of the moral may have been "if you have enough money, you can realise any of your sexual fantasies and also you can do drugs". I can't think beyond that, because the four parts are so discordant that it's hard to see, a mere half hour after closing the book, how they come together.

I think that part of i
...more
Marieke
Part way through the book i thought i would give it 4 stars. but it just kept going and going and then when it ended, it felt really forced. it seemed like kureishi couldn't figure out how to wrap things up. (editor? where were you? did he have one?) still, i enjoyed it, and i'm glad to know that his fans don't consider this novel even close to his best. it's the first book by him that i've ever read and i liked it. i feel confident that i'll really like some of his others. the funny thing about ...more
Elena Calvo
Why desire is so searched and needed by everyone? Why are we all obsessed with new experiences, morqeq sex, more desire and are afraid we have already lived our last experience? Why are we searching for all this when in the end what we iwant is to love and be loved? Kureishi has created a world of different caranchters in which desire is the center od them all: what they are able to do for a little more of excitement in life, the need they have to feel alive, and each one of them find such needs ...more
VWrulesChick
About Jamal, who is a physchoanalyst, who tells us about his life when growing up in the 60s, 70s, and then jumps back to his current life with his ex-wife and son. While he still pines for his first love. Ajita, and struggles with an event of a murder he was involved with in his younger years. He hangs out with his eccentric sister, Miriam, and his best friend, Henry, who is a pompous arse. Found some of the scenes explicit (just didn't need to know) and the characters were colorful, but nothin ...more
Gail
I struggled to get into this book and the moments when I couldn't put it down were few and far between. Kureishi tackles too many themes, none of them in depth and the characters are not developed emotionally. In fact the book reads like a literary version of The Big Chill. The characters do things but do we really get to know them? No, because the author himself seems not to care to engage with his creations on a deep level. Instead he disses them, while showing off about how cool he is. Yet, h ...more
Paul The Uncommon Reader
London's literary Tarantino?

Kureishi is a taboo breaker. Especially when it comes to sex. The things people do to and with each other for pleasure: the orifices, the body fluids; who with whom and how: there have never been any holds barred in Kureishi, sexually, class-wise, race-wise, anywise. Oh the Western civi-lie-sation taboos he has broken! Love it! The Black Album is still my favourite, I think, though I love the variety of topic and style present in the collection of short stories in The

...more
Nicolien


"Rafi's mother had insisted on, indeed clung to, her own innocence. The badness was always only in me. It was, from her point of view, a rational division of labour. What she didn't see was that the innocent have everything - integrity, respect, moral goodness - except pleasure. Pleasure: vortex and abyss - that which we desire and fear simultaneously. Pleasure implies dirtying your hands and mind, and being threatened; there is fear, disgust, self-loathing and moral failure. Pleasure was hard w
...more
Gitte
I don’t want to be loved.
I want to be desired.
Love is safety, but desire is foul.




The Beginning: Secrets are my currency: I deal in them for a living.

The psychoanalyst, Jamal, is haunted by his past: the girl he loved and the crime he committed. This was a good and entertaining story. There’s nothing here we haven’t seen or heard before. What made the novel so special and unforgettable were the characters. They were hilarious! Even though it was a serious book, it read almost like a comedy. I es
...more
Charlotte
If you are able to submit to Kureishi's aimless pace, his myopic pleasure in chronicling details, and his signature brand of narcissism, you will be rewarded by this long, almost plotless novel about midlife crisis. He writes about hope as much as regret. The central character, Jamal, is a Freudian analyst, but it turns out that he also has something of his own to tell, in the form of a burning secret. The story unfolds like a meandering mystery, but the real mystery is always intimacy in all it ...more
Paul Curd
Dr Jamal Khan is a successful psychoanalyst but he is approaching a difficult age. His son Rafi will soon be a teenager and they will soon no longer be able to greet each other by touching fists and exchanging the traditional middle-class greeting, 'Yo bro – dog!' Already, the twelve-year-old hides his head when he sees his father. Meanwhile, the boy's mother Josephine, from whom Jamal separated eighteen months ago, has a new boyfriend.

Jamal has to come to terms with these life changes while hid
...more
Drgibson63
Sep 01, 2008 Drgibson63 rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All adults
This revew was part of a column published on Aug. 28 in the Standard-Examiner (Ogden, Utah)
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"Something to Tell You," by Hanif Kureishi, offers a change of pace. It's about Jamal Khan, 50-something psychoanalyst, living in London, estranged from his wife, Josephine, loving his 12-year-old son, Rafi, and living for 30 years with guilt for a crime he committed, one that cost him a lifetime with a woman he always thought he loved.

I regard Kureishi as the finest writer living. His spare prose, insi
...more
Palmyrah
A well-written, amusing and reasonably absorbing novel that works well as entertainment but is unlikely to haunt you for ever. The setting is London in the mid-Noughties. The protagonist is a psychoanalyst with a mildly criminal past and some interestingly original views on morality and pleasure. However, he would be the first to admit that he doesn't have all the answers; indeed, he uses this cop-out regularly in his relationships with family, friends and patients.

There is lots and lots of sex,
...more
Emma  Kaufmann
I really used to like Kureishi, but something's definately off in this novel. A middle aged therapist, Jamal, tells a flash back story about how he remembers his first love, Ajita and lots of old friends and stuff he did in the past. It flashes back and forward, it rambles on, it is excessively wordy - it is almost like it is trying to be a transcript of someone who is in therapy and is given free reign to babble about anything that is inside his head. Trouble is, this does not an engaging novel ...more
Tahira
Here's a quick overview of what I thought of Hanif Kureishi's _Something to Tell You_. While scanning the popular library at school, I was immediately excited by the first line of this novel, in which the narrator Jamal introduces himself as a keeper of secrets. While the writing is very clever and Kureishi certainly has a knack for crafting intriguing, complex and believable characters, I found his pretensions to be overwhelming at times. I wished at various moments that the characters were mor ...more
Gerund
THE cover of Hanif Kureishi's novel has candy-coloured cartoon figures writhing about in various sexual positions. Unfortunately, this promise of something fun and naughty is not delivered by the actual prose: The only thing the illustrated orgy and the novel have in common is that they both showcase self-indulgence.

The writer, best known for his debut novel The Buddha of Surburbia (1990) and the screenplay for My Beautiful Laundrette (1985), obviously has a lot to say about race, religion, imm
...more
Cheryl
In Something To Tell You, Mr. Kureishi will take you back to his earlier days in London during the 80's. At that time Mr. Kureishi was making a famous name for himself with movies like My Beautiful Laundrette, Sammy, and Rosie Get Laid as well as his novel titled The Buddha of Suburbia. Mr. Kureishi shares with the reader his relationships with his sister, Miram, his ex-wife Josephine and son, Rafe, his friends and dealing with the loss of his first love, Ajita. Us the readers are in for a treat ...more
Joan
This is a well constructed novel which loosely tells the story of Jamal's life and the guilt he feels about an act in his youth. Now middle-aged he in his role of analyst listens to what people tell him for a living, but he himself has something he hides from others.

Hanif Kureishi's cast of characters are interesting and different and I like how they so much belong to the city of London. The various characters in their various storylines find/discover/lose and seek love, in its many guises. Thi
...more
Magda
I'm into places where language can't go, or where it stops—the "indescribable"—and early in the morning too.

Everyone has their heart torn apart, sometime.

I found a monotonous but easy job in the British Library, where I was a sort of earthworm with arms, fetching books for readers from the miles of bookstacked tunnels under Bloomsbury. I spent my day in the intestines of the gloomy building, surrounded by rotting printed paper, emerging occasionally into the light and space of the magnificent Re
...more
Brendan
Aug 25, 2008 Brendan rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people over 43
look im a massive hanif fan. intimacy and the buddha of suburbia are right up there in my top 10/15 all time reads. i finished this a couple of days ago and i gotta say it hasnt passed my mind since. completely forgettable. tho littered with champagne kureshi, the issue was with the protagonist. after playing the dane i totally appreciate the power of an inactive leading man, but jamal, in this case, was merely annoying in his stifled-ness-ness. unrequited love is meant to drive a love story but ...more
Lawrence
What's become of the 1970's pre-Thatcherite London liberals in the Blair-infused society? They have aged (although reluctant to admit it), not so radical as they once thought they were, have achieved professional status and financial security, are endowed with a certain level of middle-class (ugh!) respectability, saddled with family responsibilities, and now are facing unresolved pasts that seem to creep up unexpectedly in interesting forms. This is not the Hanif Kurieshi of My Beautiful Launde ...more
emi Bevacqua
It was a struggle to get through this novel, I didn't like the characters, couldn't remember what was going on each time I picked it up so I'd have to go back and re-read a couple pages, meh. I just can't keep trying to read books about perfectly middle-class people living in drug induced squalor, it's not interesting to me.

The story is about an analyst in London, from his multi-ethnic upbringing with British mother, Pakistani father, and gigantic violent sister; to his current haphazard affair
...more
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Hanif Kureishi is the author of novels (including The Buddha of Suburbia, The Black Album and Intimacy), story collections (Love in a Blue Time, Midnight All Day, The Body), plays (including Outskirts, Borderline and Sleep With Me), and screenplays (including My Beautiful Laundrette, My Son the Fanatic and Venus). Among his other publications are the collection of essays Dreaming and Scheming, The ...more
More about Hanif Kureishi...
The Buddha of Suburbia Intimacy: das Buch zum Film von Patrice Chéreau The Black Album Gabriel's Gift Love In A Blue Time

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“I don't want to be loved. I want to be desired. Love is safety, but desire is foul.” 22 likes
“At the deepest level people are madder than they want to believe. You will find that they fear being eaten, and are alarmed by their desire to devour others. ” 18 likes
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