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The Buddha of Suburbia

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  11,189 Ratings  ·  634 Reviews
Karim Amir lives with his English mother and Indian father in the routine comfort of suburban London, enduring his teenage years with good humor, always on the lookout for adventure and sexual possibilities. Life gets more interesting, however, when his father becomes the Buddha of Suburbia, beguiling a circle of would-be mystics. And when the Buddha falls in love with one ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 1st 1991 by Penguin Books (first published 1990)
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Anand I dont know if it was right. But that was the best one. For both Haroon and Margaret.

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Warwick
Jun 15, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Warwick by: a book club
I grew up in a place called Bromley, which is a sort of no-man's-land between London and Kent, and unclaimed by either. Nothing happens there: the main activities are adultery and backing out of Waitrose carpark. Its list of famous former residents is limited to HG Wells (blue plaque outside Argos) and David Bowie (then plain old David Jones), who went to school at a local polytechnic before running for the hills at the earliest opportunity. (That twanging pronunciation he has is the Bromley acc ...more
Megan Baxter
Aug 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book was a lot of fun. It has that wryly English sense of humour. Through Karim, muddling through playing Mowgli in the Jungle Book, his attachment to his father's new girlfriend, guilt about his mother, his stepbrother's move from mediocre musician to punk icon, the book captures a certain time period in England, and mixes in second-generation immigrant issues. And a lot of sex.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. Y
...more
mark monday
3 Things about The Buddha of Suburbia:

(1) i read this one because of my fondness for the movie My Beautiful Laundrette, which was written by this author. that movie was so generous, its characters so busy, its perspective so uncomplaining about unruly complicated messy awkward life. the book has that same feeling. i have a (too) organized mind and i feel vaguely envious of how Kureishi must see the world, taking in all of the confusion and seeing it as natural, organic, sometimes awful but mainl
...more
Kinga
Dec 17, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have recently read Turgenev’s Sketches from a Hunter’s Album, where he quotes an anecdote about a Frenchman who somehow got lost in Russia after Napoleon’s hasty retreat and after being captured by villagers ready to lynch him he was rescued by an aristocrat who was looking for a French and piano teacher for his daughters. It didn’t matter that the said Frenchman couldn’t actually play the piano, his Frenchness gave him all the credibility he needed.

We find a similar situation in the Buddha of
...more
Paul Bryant
Sep 30, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: novels, india
This is a really neat and actually funny British Asian novel. It's not the best thing since sliced armadilloes but it lies around pleasantly in my memory as a number of other better novels don't. For some reason the relationship between this gal Jamilla and the hapless goon who gets foisted on her in a hideous arranged marriage kind of way has remained with me almost like I met them once. Jamilla is one of the coolest women ever. Or maybe just one of the most bad tempered. She's the punk grand-d ...more
antónio alves
Oct 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
O herói do primeiro romance de Hanif Kureishi é Karim, um adolescente-jovem-adulto sonhador, desesperado por abandonar os subúrbios do sul de Londres e experimentar os frutos proibidos que a época de finais de 1970 tinha para oferecer em Inglaterra (o fim dos hippies, o aparecimento do punk e da new wave, a liberdade da experimentação de estilos de vida alternativos - em termos sexuais e sociais...). É a estória do seu percurso desde os subúrbios de Londres (o anonimato) até ao centro da cidade, ...more
فهد الفهد
May 18, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-asia
لو كان هناك ما دون النجمة لحصل عليها هذا الكتاب.

كرهته كثيرا ً، مؤذي لقارئه، حصلت عليه لأنه كان أحد 1001 كتاب التي كان ينصح بيتر بوكسال بقراءتها قبل أن نموت، يبدو أنني أخطأت ولم انتبه إلى ملحق في نهاية الكتاب اسمه كتب لا تقرأها حتى لا تموت، سيتصدرها هذا الكتاب.
Zaki
Nov 07, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book taught me that literature can be both incredibly entertaining and soul-piercingly deep.
Charlotte
I've been reading Kureishi backwards, starting with Intimacy, then Something to Tell You, and now his first novel, The Buddha of Suburbia. Intimacy was a traumatic read for me; it was Kureishi's barely fictionalized account of walking out on his partner and his two young sons and it was unapologetic. Intimacy was infuriating, but beautifully written, and it made me want to find out what makes Kureishi tick. Intimacy was very spare, the "action" taking place in just one day, and most of the actio ...more
Antonomasia
Apr 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Antonomasia by: the telly, a long time ago
There were three contemporary TV dramas I remember really speaking to me when I was a teenager: The Lakes, The Crow Road and The Buddha of Suburbia. All carried the sound of life revving up and starting to happen, and said that things were about to get a whole lot more interesting.

Now approximately twenty years separates me from watching The Buddha of Suburbia in the 90s, as the same span back then separated the series from its setting in the 70s. I should have read and treasured this book long
...more
Lex
Jul 23, 2012 rated it liked it
I read this book for my English 348 class. I was surprised by the choice, but as I continued to read... the choice became perfectly clear. My professor is in love with the idea of "national identity." It is a passion of his that he expressed to me when I interviewed him for a features article in The Carolinian. He also seems to have an interest and loves to debate about the interpretation of sex in literature. Several poems and as the novels continue through the semester, sex has become quite pr ...more
Eddie Clarke
Jan 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
A very entertaining read. Beautifully concrete and precise period detail in the manner of 'One Day' by David Nicholls (although Buddha was written far nearer to the period in which it is set, so is perhaps less of an astonishing performance in this regard). It is sobering for me to realize this book was published 25 years ago now. It hasn't dated; it still feels fresh and new.

A great part of the novel's charm and success is the liveliness, lightness and subtle wit with which Kureishi treats them
...more
Jane
Jun 11, 2013 rated it liked it
A coming-of-age story? Maybe. A brief exposé of race/class issues in '70s England? A bit. But it isn't going anywhere. Some good comedy mixed with confused soul-searching. I'm bored.
The title is a bit misleading. Speaking of his Indian functionnaire pseudo-guru father, the narrator sums it up ..."I wondered if he were going to con them and sit there for an hour in silence (perhaps just popping out one mystical phrase such as, 'Dried excrement sits on the pigeon's head') before putting his car c
...more
مروان البلوشي
تاريخ القراءة الأصلي : ٢٠٠٤
النوستالجيا مع المراهقة وانفتاحات الجنس والنفس.. مزيج ساحر
Gretchen Achilles
May 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of the best and funniest coming of age stories I have ever read
Michele
Aug 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
The title to this one is a bit misleading since the 'buddha' of suburbia is only present during the first half of the book. And he doesn't get the role of narrator either - his story, the parts of it that you do get, are told by his son.

The Buddha of the title is the father of Karim Amir, the narrator of the story. His father and uncles emigrated from India as young men - his father married an white woman and his uncle another Indian. Uncle Anwar ran a store with his wife and daughter Jamila whi
...more
Andrew
I grew up in Beckenham, the exact part of London suburbia in which this novel is set. To my knowledge it's the only time a novel has ever been set in Beckenham - in fact, it's probably the only time a novel has even mentioned Beckenham in passing.

So I very much enjoyed the opening chapters of the book, narrated by the teenaged Karim and telling of his father who becomes the 'Buddha of Suburbia'. I loved the way that the father is presumed to know the secrets of 'Eastern' wisdom simply because he
...more
Isidora
Jun 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
Karim Amirs indiske far träffar en ny kvinna, familjelivet vänds upp och ner och Karims värld med. Han flyttar från förorten till London, det ät sjuttiotalet och punktiden. Boken ger inblick i "the swinging London" (som det står på baksidan), samtidigt är det en uppväxtskildring och en relationsroman. Det är också raskonflikter, kulturkrockar, feminism, arbetslösheten som finns med i bilden.

Men det är inte handlingen som är märkvärdig. Det är snarare bokens svagaste punkt, för att det är lite v
...more
Hetti
I'm being generous here. This is only for the portion that I've read, which is most of it. But I just didn't like this book. It was disgusting in its sexually graphic nature, and so depressing! I hope it gets better (not that I'll be reading it!) if I end up having to do an essay on it then maybe I'll read it but I just don't see it happening. Sorry Kureshi.
Robert
Jan 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
Racy, although no Anais Nin, witty and thoroughly absorbing I'd have to recommend this book. Although, after while the impetus does get a bit lost...
Jovana Vesper
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
Besides the fact that reading Kureishi's novels are as tasty as drinking ice-tea with a splash of rum on a hot day this wasn't a story that made any kind of impact on me the way for example his "The Body" did. First half of the book was remotely interesting and actually had something to do with 'the buddha of suburbia' subject but afterwards story just dissolve into ramblings of a young, lost and confused bisexual kid. It was predictable and unfortunately boring.
N.J. Ramsden
May 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I've been putting this off for nearly 20 years, and finally, I am underwhelmed. It's ok. It's lightly entertaining, but is hardly as wild and hilarious as the praise on the cover would make out. I think I laughed at page 278. It's a novel about people doing things, and there's not much of a subtext, or a story, really. Stuff just happens, none of it matters. It's Bildungsroman writ modest and, in the end, in the most suburban way possible – that is, inconsequentially. It's the kind of book you m ...more
Peter
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Someone to whom jokes are never told soon contracts enthusiasm deficiency.”

In man respects this is a coming of age novel set mainly in 1970's London against a background of the emergence of Punk Rock and political turmoil leading to the rise to ascendancy of Margaret Thatcher. The ''Buddha'' of the title is Haroon, father of Karim, the narrator, who works as a mundane Government bureaucrat until he deserts his British wife, Margaret, and moves in with socially climbing Eva giving out advice in
...more
Paul
Karim is a mixed race teenager, son to a Indian father who is working as a dull bureaucrat, and an English mother and living in the South London suburbs. His only aim is to escape to the bright lights of the city, not far geographically, but a place of opportunity and excitement. Having finished school he has no idea what he wants to do, and when the chance of becoming an actor presents itself, he jumps at the chance.

In the meantime his parents have split up. His father has moved in with a lady
...more
Janet Elsbach
Feb 26, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm of two minds at least here. On the one hand this had some of the sharpest and funniest lines I've read in a while, and I kept reaching for my pencil to jot them down. On the other, it's terrifically dated in a way that kind of makes it wearing to read after a while. On an additional hand, it's a keen and merciless and illuminating and necessary look inside the world of immigrants and the social barriers that confine and confound human society, and an interesting exploration of people and cul ...more
Tristy
Jul 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: scavenged
This very well-loved copy fell into my hands through a scavenging adventure with my husband. I have always wanted to read My Beautiful Laundrette but have yet to pick it up, and this book is written by the same author. It's rare for me to enjoy a book with such a dislikable lead character. And it's a real trick to make me CARE about such a dislikable lead character. And care about Karim, I did. I read this book pretty quickly, to find out where it all leads. And not surprisingly, it doesn't real ...more
عائشة
Oct 14, 2014 rated it liked it
بعد قراءة بضع صفحات من هذا الكتاب عدت سريعا للغلاف لأتأكد إن كان مؤلفه هو حنيف قريشي بالفعل و ليس راسل بيتر، فقد استطاع بحسه الفكاهي الساخر أن يبهرج

حياة رتيبة لفتى بريطاني من أصول هندية
ليجعل منها مسلسلا شيقا للمطالعة، وأقول مسلسلا هنا لأنها بدت لي أقرب لمسلسلات الكوميديا الخفيفة منها كرواية. تلك الكوميديا السوداء التي تجعلك تبتلع مرارة بعض المشاهد الممعنة في
سفور واقعيتها وأنت تبتسم. تسلط الرواية الضوء على عنصرية الإنجليز تجاه الملونين في حقبة ليست بالبعيدة، جعلتني أتذكر مشهدا من مسلسل
"mind yo
...more
Thomas Strömquist
Great characters and wonderfully nostalgia-inducing setting in the late 70's. In the center of the story is Karim, in his late teens, trying to grow up and to find his place in existence while a lot of things he cannot control complicates things for him. His parents changing; his father entering the unexpected role as the Buddha of the title. Really liked the book, had it been possible to read it when I was in my own late teens, I'm sure I would have loved it!
Mog
Feb 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"In eighty years the lot of us would be dead. We lived, having no choice, as if that were not so, as if we were not alone, as if there would not come a moment when each of us would see that our lives were over, that we were driving without brakes towards a brick wall."

I haven't been so invested in fictional characters in years. This is one of those rare books that you miss keenly the instant you finish it.
أحمد ناجي
Nov 24, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
خاجة جميلة بديعة، في الغالب المرحلة الجاية هجيب كل اعمال حنيف قرشي
رغم الخدع السحرية في البداية، لكن بعد كدا بتتحول لرواية اجتماعية انجليزية حديثة عادية عن الصراع الطبقي والاجتماعى، لكن مع ذلك كنت مسحور جدا بالدراما الاجتماعية على غير العادة، مكنش ممكن اتخيل انى ممكن اقرا رواية واقعية بالسهولة والانسايبة دى
فيه في الخلفية اشباح لمدعى النبوة والآلهه، ولديفيد بوي، وللحركات اليسارية السرية الجو دا كان اجمل حاجة في الرواية
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Buddha of Suburbia 3 48 Nov 21, 2012 06:32AM  
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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 cruellest thing you can do to Kerouac is reread him at thirty-eight.” 52 likes
“Please remove your watch,' he said. 'In my domain time isn't a factor.” 32 likes
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