Monday, 4 July 2016

Intimacy by Hanif Kureishi

Intimacy by Hanif Kureishi
First published by Faber and Faber in 1998.

Where to buy this book:
Buy the book from /
Buy the paperback from Speedyhen
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How I got this book:
Purchased from a charity shop

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I bought Intimacy by Hanif Kureishi in a pristine hardback edition from the Children's Society charity shop in Garstang for 99p. It is a short novella length book and, written in the first person as it is, could almost be mistaken for memoir rather than fiction. I did learn, when reading other reviews after finishing, that Kureishi had actually lived out the theme - of a man leaving his wife and children - shortly before the book was published.

I was intrigued by the synopsis and hoped for a deep examination of what makes people abruptly walk out on apparently successful relationships. I have read Kureishi before and loved his writing, but I don't think the magic was present in Intimacy. Jay is telling us his thoughts, aims and fears on the night before leaving his family. We get a good idea of his character, but his wife and sons remain vaguely portrayed in the background and are never fleshed out. Even when allegedly talking about another person, we always get how said person makes Jay feel about himself which I found irritating quite early on.

Jay has mistaken affluence and the accumulation of possessions for happiness. Now he realises that he is still not satisfied, he indulges in endless self-pity and shallow affairs. Consequently this book actually has very little to do with Intimacy and struck me as a very self-indulgent piece of writing. There are occasional flashes of inspired prose, but mostly it is just dull.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Hanif Kureishi / Contemporary fiction / Books from England

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