Intimacy and Midnight All Day: A Novel and Stories
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Together in one volume -- Hanif Kureishi's highly acclaimed and controversial novel, Intimacy, and, available for the first time, his latest collection of provocative short stories, Midnight All Day.
Jay, the narrator of Intimacy, tells his story on the night he is preparing to leave his lover, Susan, and their two boys. Stripping away all posturing and self-justification, Hanif Kureishi explores the fears and desires that drive a man to leave a woman. Midnight All Day is an astonishing, darkly comic collection of new stories, in which Kureishi confirms his reputation as one of our foremost chroniclers of the loveless, the lost and the dispossessed. The characters are familiar in the cultural landscape of the nineties: frustrated and intoxicated, melancholic and sensitive, yet capable of great cruelty, and if necessary, willing to break the constraints of an old life to make way for the new.
reach up and pull down a few volumes. Father, like the other neighbourhood men, spent most of his days’ energy in unsatisfying work. Time was precious and he had me fear its waste. But browsing and ruminating at my desk, I figured that doing nothing was often the best way of doing something. I will regret forfeiting this room. For though I have never been taught the art of solitude, but had to learn it, it has become as necessary to me as the Beatles, kisses on the back of my neck and kindness.
She came after me. ‘Join me for tea,’ I said. ‘When?’ ‘How about in an hour?’ She stayed all evening. In a hurry for love after all this time, I behaved foolishly and, if I remember rightly, spent some time on my knees. She came back the next day. She was a girl then, looking for someone to take the pressure off. She had run away from home when her mother’s boyfriend smashed through the glass in the front door with his hands, and she was forced to hide in a cupboard. She was an unhappy and
me?’ ‘I will tell you.’ Unavailability can be so liberating. I asked to kiss her. She had to walk round the block to think about it. I waited by the window. ‘Yes,’ she said. ‘Yes, I will.’ Soon we were exchanging the most intimate caresses while eschewing personal questions. In those days my favoured form of contact was the anonymous. Who could blame me for being afraid of the pulsation of feeling? She said that I studied her constantly. She liked me looking at her. I’ve never known a woman
looking for a young woman to hurl himself at? I fear for my sons, but it is essential that I leave them tomorrow. I think I have become the adults in The Catcher in the Rye. Why do I envy these people? In the late sixties and seventies I did feel that I belonged to something, to other young people, and to some sort of oppositional movement. The earnestness I disliked; I was too awkward to join things. But there is something I miss: losing oneself, yes, in a larger cause. As I press my lighter
playing by the same ones, or whether they might have changed overnight, without the other having been informed. It wasn’t her wit or beauty that fascinated me. There was never great passion – perhaps that was the point. But there was enjoyment. Mostly I liked her humdrum dexterity and ability to cope. She wasn’t helpless before the world, as I felt myself to be. She was straightforward and firm; she knew how to get things done. I envy her capability, and wish I had half of it. At the expense of