Buddha of suburbia
It’s too damn hot to write. Or to think – for that matter. And Buddha of Suburbia is a pretty good book and it definitely deserves better than whatever I can churn out right now. But I’ve finished it a few days ago, and I can’t really sit on it any longer, so there you go: another ready-made excuse for writing crap.
The book is about this kid – Karim – and his screwed up family (screwed up families – they kinda make the bulk of book subjects, don’t they?) and it’s nothing more (or less) than a bildungsroman. It’s an immigrant story, slightly (or more than slightly) autobiographical – about growing up with an Indian father and a British mother in the suburbs of London sometime in the 70s, about discovering music and sex and a purpose in life, about losing a family and gaining another, about teenage confusion, anger and escapism, about the immigrant’s hang-ups (mostly concerning his native land), about love and the mess it makes of things. I’d say it catches the spirit of the age very well – except that I have no firsthand experience of said spirit. It did, however, feel real, living-and-breathing – so it should qualify. There’s not much of the philosophical rumination on the meaning of life, or of the brooding and self-pitying that you might expect from a teenager’s journey into adulthood – but it’s brimming with youthful recklessness (writing this makes me feel old), joy and humour. Because it really is a funny book – even in its tragic moments.
So…go and read it. That’s all I have to say. There’s also a BBC miniseries from 1993 based on the book, written by Mr. Kureishi as well and starring Naveen Andrews as Karim. And based on that bit of casting at least – I’d be inclined to see it 😀