Racial Tensions and Identity Conflicts in Hanif Kureishi’s Major Works


In the twentieth century British society, one-sided racist social policy that excluded diasporic people from social life started to change and British society transformed into a racially mixed one by dealing with immigrants from different parts of the world. In this multicultural society language was a means of power and shaped the identity. The Buddha of Suburbia, Hanif Kureishi’s first novel published in 1990, is a semi-autobiographical book focused on the protagonist, Karim’s search for his social and sexual identity in 1970s Britain. His mixed-race as half-English and half-Indian leads him to ambiguity about defining his own identity. Loaded with the issues such as race, class, identity and sexual crisis and failed marriages, The Buddha of Suburbia mirrors racial tensions, prejudices and class conflicts between working class and upper class in the constitution of multi-cultural British society during the 1970s. Published five years later than The Buddha of Suburbia, The Black Album (1995) is Kureishi’s second novel which explores some crucial issues such as Islamic radicalism, ecstasy, censorship and Prince in late 80s London, as well as religious and cultural clashes between Britain and its immigrants. On the other hand, My Ear at His Heart published in 2004 is a memoir which introduces us the unpublished manuscript of Kureishi’s late father’s. In this memoir Kureishi mentions different life experiences and conflicts between himself and his father. Celebrating hybridity and hetoregenity in human nature not restricted by any authority, Kureishi’s works open the door for individual development and freedom of opinion.

Author Information
Neslihan GUNAYDIN, Süleyman Şah University, TURKEY

Paper Information
Conference: LibEuro2014
Stream: Literature - Literature

This paper is part of the LibEuro2014 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon