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The Black Album Paperback – October 29, 1996

3.8 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Oscar-nominated screenwriter Kureishi's second novel is a multicultural coming-of-age tale.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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 text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; First Thus edition (October 29, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684825406
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684825403
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #186,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Kureishi has written the perfect contemporary british novel for the contemporary thinker. He probes into such matters as racism and drugs, and seems to question whether either of these are necessary (after having Shahid, his protagonist, exposed to quite a bit of both). His ability to combine his powerful sociopolitical thoughts with a bit of a love story speaks of all of our lives today - we must deal with many different causes, trying to find out which ones are ours.
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Format: Paperback
Is the liberalism that claims to fight the subjugation of others truly a colonial mentality that suppresses ethnic identity when it clashes with liberal ideas? "Equality for everyone, as long as we exist within 'reasonable' boundaries of similarness"? That's the question posed by this text when the religions and ethnic identity's of Shahid, a Pakistani Muslim living in Britain, clashes with his own liberal ideals, love of literature, and freedom of expression.

The story also includes a fantastic romance between Shahid and his professor Deedee, however the strength of the text is in analyzing this apparent contradiction of liberalism which advocates for the rights of everyone but excludes certain practices and ideologies that may be essential for maintaining and asserting ethnic identity. The commentary on this issue is fully featured and dense, leaning towards modern western liberal ideas but not completely vindicating them for this oversight of exclusion. Kureishi doesn't endorse religious fundamentalism, but he certainly seems to respect the right of individuals to express their ethnic identity as they see fit. The text reflects that both well-meaning western liberalism and positive ethnic expression can go wrong if they're intolerant and violent, and the story shows the slippery slope that exists where both mentalities can lead to ruin.
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By A Customer on March 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
Yet another winner from Hanif Kureishi as he delves deep into the world of drugs, music and adolescent confusion within the
world of a group of Asian college students. Taking the title from a Prince album, Kureishi explores the interrelations between a
working class Asian student heavily influenced by literature and his revolutionary, English lecturer with whom he begins an affair.This is counterbalanced by the threats of an uprising amongst his fellow students who seek to defend themselves against the prejudice they see within neighbouring communities.
In a titanic struggle, Shahid Hasan must choose between his friends and his lover, both of whom are cast in the revolutionary
lights yet in radically different ways. Just as in The Buddha of Suburbia, Kureishi's own literary and musical tastes are revealed
yet this also shows what can go wrong when one person takes it on themselves to embody the opinions of the majority. The
result sees the boundaries of class and identity become tragically blurred amongst a haze of pills, alcohol and teenage outrage.
Once again Kureishi reinforces his position as one of the best non-British writers in British literature with a rollercoaster novel which moves between the deadly serious and wickedly funny, true genius.
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Format: Paperback
So you’re an Asian young man in London for the first time. What do you find? A strip club. A launderette where they steal your clothes. Not a promising start is it? Nobody knows who you are beyond merely the colour of your skin.

Nor is it to be in a house where the neighbours post lighted rags through the letter box, smash the windows and generally terrorised you because you are Asian. Yet this happened a lot and groups of bodyguards grew up to help and sit with these people.

No wonder Muslims retreat in the need to belong, caught between East and West.
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Format: Paperback
He's got style, but not in any exagerated sense. And anyway its the material that grabs you. Very human- the material, his characters aren't so much out of the ordinary, but Kureishi wrings out of them these cooly intense, never contrived kinds of feelings. More importantly I'm 22, Eritrean, grew up in CA, and I don't think I've ever read a book that made this kind of a connection with me. Anyway I think a lot of you displaced foreign born kids out there will really be vibing with his stuff.
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By Helen W on November 23, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Book felt like a sequence of contrived situations which forced the characters to deliver soliloquies to each other based on their various views. The issues the author was trying to nut out are undeniably serious, but felt cheapened by his heavy handed technique. I'm sure other people would love it, but not my thing.
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Format: Paperback
But pretty tasty. Shahid is not as interesting as the hero in Buddha (forget his name) was. He's not as smart, doesn't have as much gusto to know and love and live in the world, he's not as daring, but he's good. Furthermore the supporting characters, unlike the father and the rock star from Buddha, are all caracatures, some of which intially show promise, like his neighbor, the leader of a fanatical Muslim group, who originally shows an understanding passionate ear to Shahid, but then all but disappears or becomes a complete mockery. He could have been better. If Shahid was looking for brotherhood and found something attractive in the group, it is never explored. He never seems to care, not care, agree, or disagree, and I don't know whether this was Kureishi's point, or if the book was just poorly written. His lover lacks depth, as does his brother. The drugdealer proves to be boring and not worth reading, and then finally, his family history, his place, is never explored. Nothing is resolved, its a sitcom-type of comedy, but it is often a fun read. The raves and the chases and the experiences are all quite easy and fun to read, but the story never takes off like Buddha. I guess it stays closer to home, its a little more realistic, but overall, the book is much weaker than Buddha of Suburbia.
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