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Gabriel's Gift Paperback – March 18, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (March 18, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571209297
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571209293
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,443,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In 2001, Kureishi set teacups rattling in England with Intimacy, a sexually explicit novella about an extramarital affair, with possible real-life parallels. Here he concocts an appealing, deceptively breezy coming-of-age story recalling his screenplays (My Beautiful Laundrette; Sammy and Rosie Get Laid) in its tender evocation of London-area grunge. Since Mum banished Dad three months ago, 15-year-old Gabriel Bunch has been on the equivalent of house arrest. Nannied to death by hairy Hannah, a refugee from the Communist town of "Bronchitis," Gabriel copes by smoking pot, talking to his dead twin brother, Archie, and drawing objects that disturbingly come to life. Then his dad, Rex, a '60s-era guitarist now wallowing in a squalid bedsit, gets a call from Lester Jones, a David Bowie-like rock god who still packs 'em in. Rex brings Gabriel to meet Lester, who recognizes Gabriel's artistic gifts and gives him a painting that soon becomes central to a virtual custody battle between Mum and Dad and Gabriel himself. The plot is a familiar domestic triangle, as the parents vie for Gabriel's allegiance. But all three Bunches are rich characters capable of sudden growth spurts and surrounded by a crowd of psychedelically colorful friends and associates. Kureishi's loose, loopy style will keep readers off-balance ("She was a person around whom different odors seemed to congregate, like bums on a street corner"). Yet behind the apparent artlessness, this is a shrewd, warmly imagined portrayal of the healing powers of art. (Oct.)Forecast: Kureishi's rep and the psychedelic jacket should help sell this title, especially in big city stores.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

British author, playwright, and screenwriter (My Beautiful Laundrette), Kureishi is in the spotlight nowadays, most notably for his 2001 novel Intimacy (LJ 12/98), recently made into a motion picture and notorious for a sexually explicit scene with name actors. However, this excellent novel, reissued here in paperback with Midnight All Day, a collection of original short stories, occupies itself less with sex than with the basic issue of intimacy and the struggles of Jay, on the verge of leaving his wife and two children for an uncertain relationship with a much younger woman. The author strikes the right chord, with Jay (who some say is a stand-in for Kureishi) addressing the reader directly, weighing his options, and recounting his life with Susan and with his lover, Nina. Jay is no doubt self-obsessed, and Kureishi stacks the deck in his favor by showing mostly the shrewish side of Susan, but this is a fascinating and intelligent examination of one man's perception of a burnt-out marriage and of what he needs instead. The collected stories sketch out similar portraits of love and intimacy. In "Strangers When We Meet," for instance, the final chapter of an affair comes to a close when a husband happens on what was intended to be a rendezvous; in the excellent "Girl," the histories of a young woman and her older lover uneasily mesh together through a first visit to her mother.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Boris Bangemann on November 22, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Hanif Kureishi's fiction is one of my minor addictions. I love his irreverent wit and the mastery of his dialogue. He is a truly gifted observer and listener. Kureishi is an interesting author because he vacillates between the self-assurance of the satirical writer and the vulnerability that is part of being human. He used to rage against the very people by whom he wanted to be loved - as if they could never love him enough. In this sense, "Intimacy" is his most instructive and illuminating book.
Gabriel's Gift is, in some ways, a re-run of his first novel, "The Buddha of Suburbia", this time with a happy end for the characters. Kureishi seems to have mellowed a lot since his earlier writings, but this change has not yet translated into a new style of writing or into new ideas. Gabriel's Gift is a book that gave me the sense of the author wanting to explore his roots as an artist in order to get somewhere, but he did not quite know where (which, of course, is not the hallmark of a great novel). But then again, Hanif Kureishi is always in search of himself. It is one of his strengths. Sometimes he delivers great writing along the way, at other times he does not.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Society is still as dark and deceptive as ever but Gabriel, Kureishi's most recent teenage protagonist, has the gift to dispel its gloom. Gabriel's ill-suited parents have finally separated, he is bored, left to his own devices and well on his way to becoming a drug addict. But, instead of following all the easy paths to becoming a failure, he decides to take his parents' problems into his own hands. Although the story is unrealistically idealistic, it carries with it an unmistakable aura of hope, in the modern shape of fame. Fame is the gift and the fairy that can deliver anybody in style from all the difficulties of twentieth-first-century living. Once more Kureishi injects his characteristic comedy and light-heartedness into a serious subject without too much irreverence and with a little more hope. As a modern fairy-tale, 'Gabriel's Gift' is able to offer a nice dream with just enough kick in the backside to keep it real.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ford Ka on January 20, 2008
Format: Paperback
It is difficult to tell why Hanif Kureishi did not come up with anything new but decided to replay the themes of his most successful novel The Buddha of Suburbia. However, he did when he shouldn't have. This is a nice novel but there is so little inside that you may pass it by and never miss it. If you don't know Kureish yet - get Buddha. Gabriel's a mistake.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
Since the mid-80s when Kureishi started to write I have been a close follower of his fiction work and screenplays. His main characters in his books whether in the Black Album, The Buddha of Suburbia and My Beautiful Laundrette are always at the crossroads. His characters live and mostly survive in a world accentuated by racial and sexual politics and loss and rediscovery of identity. Gabriel's Gift is a milestone in this career, more subtle in humour, more introspective yet lives up to an author's fame as a writer who knows how to use language.Gabriel's relationship with his Dad and his description of people who are lost in the meanders of the post-60s world is touching and powerful. Especially the first chapter of the book should be a standard text in literature and writing classes.
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