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Gabriel's Gift

3.29  ·  Rating details ·  1,338 ratings  ·  75 reviews
Gabriel's father, a washed-up rock musician, has been chucked out of the house. His mother works nights in a pub and sleeps days. Navigating his way through the shattered world of his parents' generation, Gabriel dreams of being an artist. He finds solace and guidance through a mysterious connection to his deceased twin brother, Archie, and his own knack for producing real ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published October 8th 2002 by Scribner (first published 2001)
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Average rating 3.29  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,338 ratings  ·  75 reviews


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Eli
May 13, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2008
This is an intriguing read (though it could've used about 50 more pages - never thought I'd say that), but I'm not wild about it. Things move too quickly; we see cause or effect but seldom both; everything seems slightly off-kilter. Gabriel reads too young for me, especially if he grew up surrounded by musicians and their groupies. Other characters - and the narrator - kept telling me Gabriel is precocious, but I never saw it.

I was also depressed by the narrowness that surrounded "dreaming big."
...more
Augustine George
May 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent book to read if you are down on confidence,its full of positive energy and hope.More or less life a fairy tale where good things happen to good people,yet Kureishi has brought in themes of racism,immigrants,homosexuals and such into the story,which is pretty good.Its full of wonderful passages,one i personally liked:-"Talent might be a gift but it still has to be cultivated.The imagination is like a fire or furnace:it has to be stoked, fed and attended to.One thing sets another abla ...more
Ferris
Nov 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved Kureishi's writing. In a matter of a few sentences the reader is whisked into the mind and heart of an adolescent boy trying to understand the rollercoaster which is life. At the core of this novella is the question of how to hold onto imagination? How to hold onto losses...a twin, a marriage, the truth, ideals? Wonderfully crafted, this book is a gem!
Alex
Apr 17, 2010 rated it it was ok
The writing is fine, the plot vapid, and the main character unconvincing (he's supposed to be fifteen, but thirteen would be more like it). The device of the ghost of the deceased twin is downright silly. The female in the tale, the mother, doesn't jell. All in all, read Hornby's About a Boy: it's better.
Mariele
Jan 08, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: xxx-overrated
I started to read this book not knowing anything about the author or what the story would be about (the blurb was very formulaic). I chose it mainly because it was short, and it took me only three days to finish it. I am now going to ramble a bit, collecting my thoughts on the book.

Reading along, i wondered where the book was meant to be going. Gabriel, the eponymous main character is a London teenager, an only child whose parents, washed up 70s hipsters, have just separated. In the second chap
...more
Frank
Feb 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jaimie
Nov 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shamim E. Haque
It is a good book, but like me if you have read the earlier outputs- The Buddha of Suburbia (1990) and Intimacy (1998)- Gabriel's Gift will appear quite boring at times. The fun, the intelligence, and the bon mot that make those works so endearing is conspicuously absent in Gabriel's Gift. The novel nevertheless deals with an interesting theme, and will often treat you with lucid insights on family life, creativity, discipline and the angst to which young adults and their middle aged parents are ...more
Tariq Mahmood
Oct 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: bbcd
In Gabriel's dad, Hanif creates a character which has to be loved by every kid. Popular, charismatic, icononic, rebel, and most of all someone who has seems to have a lot more time than others. In short, Gabriel's dad is a classic nurturer and a groomer. Someone who should be present as one of the many role models in every kids life. Someone who is courageous enough to go against the grain, and at the same time deflecting the resulting opprobrium with the ease of a sage.

And in Gabriel's mother h
...more
Katie Grainger
I found Gabriel's Gift to be an interesting story. Gabriel is a 15 year old boy who is left at home with his mum when his parents spilt up. As Gabriel gets to grips with his new life he turns to the support of his dead twin brother who speaks to him and guides him through a number of situations. Gabriel's father turns to drink while his mum goes slightly wilder, starts working in a bar and inviting all sorts of men back to the house.

It isn't until a chance meeting with an old rock star that lif
...more
Maryann
Aug 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 1001
Gabriel is a teenager whose parents aren't getting along. He's an artist who speaks to his dead twin brother. His dad was a rock star of a little fame. Gabriel doesn't like the au pair his mother has hired to watch over him.

Seems like disjointed facts, right? Yeah. The book kind of clunks along, and stuff happens with a few moments of feeling, but overall, it was just okay. None of the characters was developed enough to feel believable, especially Gabriel. He was inconsistent and it made it dif
...more
Sve
Feb 27, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was pretty impressed by Hanif Kureishi's novel "Intimacy"...And this one was just too bland. The story of Gabriel who communicates with his dead broter and his old-hippie dad was did not catch me. The whole feeling this book left was - oh well, it is ok - whatever happens - life goes on...even if you do not read me, it will be ok. Should I be giving it another chance?
Jibran
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was ok
I enjoy reading Kureishi but this novel is a loose canon in his armory. The story of the gifted artistic boy at no point becomes an interesting story. The whole novel reads like starting phase of a promising story but it never takes off. There are inevitable glimpses of Kureishi's crisp and frank writing style, which I enjoyed, but other than that I'm afraid to say there's nothing more in it.
zespri
Oct 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
So much to like about this book for me.

References to '70's music and pop culture

Quirky adolescent boy narrator who has a massive imagination

Very funny dialogue that had me smiling as I read

And a happy ever after ending

What more could you want??

George
Jun 23, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. A good, light, entertaining read about 15 year old Gabriel and how he copes with his parents unstable relationship. Gabriel is still at school. His interests include taking photos and painting pictures. He is also writing and making a film with the help of his friend Zak. Gabriel's father Rex was a bass player for the 'famous' singer, Lester Jones back in the 1970s. Unfortunately Rex is currently unemployed, drinks to excess and is generally doing very little to improve his lot in lif ...more
ristubasan
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
2.5. Not my favorite Kureishi. Gabriel is a 15-year-old narrator caught up in his parents' messy separation; he navigates this, and his schoolboy paranoias, in entertaining but utterly unrealistic ways. Perhaps I should envy those brought up in the shadow of rock stars in North London, but instead I regret missing some true depth of observation. Kureishi goes for a neat summation, and if I enjoyed his acerbic commentary on London society as much as ever, even if voiced via schoolboy humor; I jus ...more
Revati Kulkarni
Feb 23, 2020 rated it liked it
It was a light, breezy read for me which I finished in a few day's time. But I found the story and the ending especially to be okay-ish. The character sketch and Gabriel's dialogues with his parents are beautifully crafted, almost like a movie script. I could almost picture the scenes being played out in a film somewhere, which is understandable because Hanif Kureishi has written scripts for films in the past. But all in all, it was a book that I could have easily not finished and would have not ...more
Jorge
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
After reading The Buddha of Suburbia, Gabriel's Gift didn't quite live up to my expectations. I think the ending comes too soon and the story could be more entertaining had it been a bit longer. Apart from that, some characters are not very much developed (e. g. Speedy or even Lester Jones), while others (Karim Amir and Charlie Hero) can only be understood if you have read The Buddha of Suburbia. The story is funny, though.
Jane E
Apr 23, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british, fiction
A physically slim volume and a bit slim on content too. As always Kureishi's writing is tongue in cheek amusing, particularly his character dialogue, but underneath it all this is actually a very conventional story done up to try to make it appear less so. (Purchased secondhand at Skoob Books in London.)
Debbie Walker
Jul 13, 2017 rated it liked it
This is lovely read, a story of a 15 year old boy whose parents have separated and his determination to bring them back together. the characters are well described and the story is well written.
Dave
Jun 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this, but not as much as his other books.
Lynn Lock
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Hamid Koreshi is the author of my favourite book ever (Intimacy) and I love his gritty style of writing. This book probably a better screenplay if it’s not but I felt I really knew the character well
Catherine
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Made me laugh out loud a few times. Loved the central chatacters. Weak ending
Shawn
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Struggled to work out what this book was actually about. More like a series of disjointed scenes than a story.
Eduardo
Oct 09, 2015 rated it liked it
For as long as I can remember, I have been an avid reader, but since High School started I haven’t read as much. Earlier this year, I got some “new” books and just now I am getting around to reading them. Okay, so I got Gabriel’s Gift as a present and it kicked off again my desire to read.

Gabriel’s Gift was written by Hanif Kureishi and was released in 2001. It is set in London and the story travels through the city, going from the suburbs to bars to warehouses.

Gabriel is a fifteen years old who
...more
Arukiyomi
Oct 14, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-books
Oh my… but this was so profoundly awful on every level that I can hardly believe I read it, let alone that for some unfathomable and criminal reason, it was once placed on the 1001 list.

Badly written with flat characters who say and do entirely predictable things, this has a plot that, if Kureishi could actually write, might not be half bad. But he can’t write and the novel thus turns out wholly bad.

Gabriel’s parents separate and his father, a failed musician, attempts to salvage something for h
...more
Ian Mapp
Feb 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: lit-fict
Chosen from 1001 books you must read before you die. I am working backwards and have arrived at 2001.

I have not read Kureishi before. I will again. There is plenty to admire, the pop culture references of the seventies, the sly humour, and underneath it all, a book with a message.

Gabriel is the potential offspring of a broken home. His parents were both big in their own way in the seventies - his father, playing bass in the Lester Jones (read, David Bowie) super successful band. That is until he
...more
Becky
May 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 1001-list-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ian
Sep 07, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-books
Part meditation on modern childhood, part reflection on parents who can't manage to grow up, a 15-year old Gabriel tries to reunite his separated parents. Dad was a 70s rocker and member of Lester Jones' band whose career nose-dived after a platform sole accident. Mum is exasperated by this impractical slacker of a man and tries to make something of herself. Gabriel is sensitive and artistic and attuned to the presence of his dead brother Archie. He can also make real objects appear simply by dr ...more
Shovelmonkey1
Jul 01, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 1001 book readers looking for a quick read
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 book list
This book took less than a day to read and while it was diverting, well written and pleasantly readable it wasn't exactly mind blowing and I'm not really sure why it has a place on the 1001 books list.
The story follows the lives of Gabriel, who still communicates with his dead twin Archie, and Gabriel's life which is dominated by the trial and tribulations of his parents whose 1960's peace love and music ethos is now out of step with the modern world. His father, Rex is a talented mucisian who m
...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

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“Talent might be a gift but it still has to be cultivated. The imagination is like a fire or furnace: it has to be stoked, fed and attended to. One thing sets another ablaze. Keep it going.” 1 likes
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