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The Black Album by Hanif Kureishi
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The Black Album (original 1995; edition 1995)

by Hanif Kureishi

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592None16,509 (3.22)10
Member:belgrade18
Title:The Black Album
Authors:Hanif Kureishi
Info:Scribner (1995), Hardcover, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:fiction, England, London, India, 20th century

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The Black Album by Hanif Kureishi (1995)

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The Black Album is a domestic-political novel whose main protagonist, Shahid, a young impressionable Asian student is seduced by both his Western liberal lecturer DeeDee and a group of friends heavily influenced by a fundamentalist Muslim, Riaz. Shahid flip-flops between these two beguiling opposites, agonising over his loyalty to both. So, in some sense, we have a coming of age novel pivoting around the publishing of Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses and the accompanying Islamic fatwah.

The title of the novel is taken from an album by Prince which was released and then withdrawn by him soon after and Shahid awkward ambivalence towards his true feelings are equally unresolved.

A number of cultural references within the book will probably date it quickly but I found it an engaging read although possibly with rather more intimate sexual details than strictly necessary. ( )
  dylanwolf | Nov 9, 2010 |
The people most adept at reviewing this book would be a British Asian, but from my experience of living in England for 3 years, the conflict between religion, particularly people engaged in its extremisms, and the fast pleasures of modern life (drugs, raving, crazy sex and fetishes) is very true. Kureishi knows his contradictions, and knows how to convey irony without being repetitive in any way. It's as truthful a description of modern London (well, relatively modern) as ever.
The only reason why I didn't give it a full rating was because there's something about contemporary writing that grates on me, even though I know that if it were written in any other way, it would have come off as false-sounding. That's just my personal opinion, though, but other than that it's well worth a read. ( )
  unlikelyaristotle | Aug 2, 2009 |
From Library Journal
Kureishi's first novel, The Buddha of Suburbia (LJ 3/15/90), won England's Whitbread Prize; he is also famous for writing the screenplay of the film My Beautiful Laundrette (Faber & Faber, 1986). This, his second novel, is a portrait of Shahid Hasan, a young Pakistani student torn between a love affair with his college professor, DeeDee Osgood, and his political work with Islamics fighting racism. Kureishi portrays a bleak, drug-infested world full of offbeat sexual encounters. But like the student he depicts, he asks many questions: Can anywhere really be home for an immigrant living between two cultures? Should friends share similar values? Does wisdom come from what we know, or what we don't know? But this makes the novel sound too planned, too arranged. Instead, it's a rollicking, cross-cultural look at modern London life: sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll seen through the eyes of a minority not sure of what path to follow. Recommended for most collections.?Doris Lynch, Bloomington P.L., Ind.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. ( )
This review has been flagged by multiple users as abuse of the terms of service and is no longer displayed (show).
  EricaKline | Nov 1, 2006 |
A deftly-handled portrait of a young man caught between the extremes of a destructive drug culture and radical Islam, and apparently unable to find a stable medium. ( )
  lizw | Feb 14, 2006 |
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Kureishi shouldn't have done this,afetr The Buddha of Suburbia,Love in a Blue Time,Gabriel's Gift,this is disappointing...
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