Culture, Politics, Race

I haven’t read the book, or seen the movie, but I can assure you that they will be issuing new printings of both versions of Hanif Kureishi’s My Son the Fanatic.

I missed it when it came out, as did Abhi on Sepia Mutiny. But has a post discussing the importance of the book now that it is known that the London bombers were second-generation” immigrants. Abhi quotes the following reader’s synopsis on

My Son the fanatic is a short story of an immigrant from Pakistan. The underlying theme of this novel is the struggle of the asian immigrants face in an alien society which refuses to accept them, treat them as equals and the ways in which they deal with the alienation. There is a sharp contrast in the way Pervez and his son Farid deal with the sense of belonging and being a part of society. With all the compromises and loses Pervez suffers in his migration; he appears to take them as a part of his experience and adventure of life; to him it seems to be worth the price. He mentions how better his life has been in comparison to having stayed back. He refuses to acknowledge the cold behavior of the local British.

His son Farid on the other hand seems to have considerable anger and is not disillusioned by the British cold behavior. He finds the society constraining, limiting and degrading and feels to be a victim in his country. Having been excluded he is tempted to exclude others. He finds comfort with his own people and gets attached towards Islam. Having been brought up in secular Britan, he would turn the to a form of belief that denies him the pleasure of society in which he lived. Having devoted his life to pleasure: the pleasure of sex, music, alcohol and friends; he detracts and spends time in abstinence; for in abstinence he felt strong.

I haven’t kept up with Kureishi’s work since the first two brilliant films in the 80s: Sammy and Rosie Get Laid and My Beautiful Laundrette. Sounds like I have some catching up to do.

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