Sunday, March 30, 2014

Something to Tell You by Hanif Kureishi (2008)

This was a random find while browsing through the library's English novel shelves.  I had never really heard of the author, Hanif Kureishi, although I definitely remember when the movie "My Beautiful Laundrette" came out (for which he wrote the screenplay).

I took this book home to read because the story sounded intriguing and it took place in London, a city I love to visit.  The story follows the main character, Jamal, who is a middle aged psychoanalyst, as he goes about his current life in London, as well as in flashbacks of his life in the late 1970's, centered around a romance he had with a woman he believes he is still in love with, and the reason their relationship ended.  This involves a secret he has kept about a crime he committed, and he fears the secret will come out after they reconnect in the present (2005).

I struggled to get through this book and the only thing that kept me going were the descriptions of places and life in London and my curiosity about whether or not Jamal's secret came out and what the ramifications would be.  The characters and their milieu were often shockingly decadent, and I had a hard time sympathizing with or relating to any of them.  Much of the book draws on the lifestyles of the rich and famous in theater, film, television and music, with a focus on the underbelly of drugs, prostitution, sex clubs, and how people manipulate and exploit one another.  Not really my cup of tea, so it will be a relief to return it to where I found it, and start reading something else completely different.

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