hanif kureishi at litteraturhuset

October 2, 2008

We had a great night out last night at Litteraturhuset, despite Hanif Kureishi‘s best efforts. His interview there gave the impression of an abrasive, unengaged man. I loved Buddha of Suburbia, feted for being the first non-white voice of Britain, but since then Kureishi has moved on, and it feels like I have too.

Those days and tales seem naive now, and Kureishi’s voice – and person? – is more bitter and cynical. He made the very valid point that writing stories about people falling out of love and hating each other are infinitely harder to write than those about people falling in love. Sadly, his tone did not make the prospect of reading them seem attractive, and neither did his sarcastic spiel at the start of the interview about people’s boring, pointless search for happiness.

All in all, an interview that left a bad taste in my mouth, but plenty to talk about, which I suppose was his justification, and selling point. I suppose enjoying a book makes you identify with its author, so meeting him in real life and deciding he’s not really a person you would like can be a let down. Doesn’t make him any worse an author, yet it does make you less of a fan of the man, if not the book. Reality bites!

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2 Responses to “hanif kureishi at litteraturhuset”

  1. Jean Says:

    I had the exact opposite experience with Salman Rushdie. I’m not a huge fan of his books or writing but found him very clever and witty in person, which makes me want to give his books a second chance.

  2. sunburn Says:

    ok, will try to keep an eye out for him then! midnight’s children is still my favourite but i think he just hasn’t had the same brilliance since. did get wrapped up in ‘gound beneath her feet’ and a bit less so in ‘the moor’s last sigh’, but got lost in shalimar, satanic verses and haroun (though some friends swear by these). i couldn’t even properly start on fury. would be very interesting to hear the man speak.

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