Karim Amir lives with his English mother and Indian father in the routine comfort of suburban London, enduring his teenage years with good humor, always on the lookout for adventure - and sexual possibilities. Life gets more interesting, however, when his father becomes the Buddha of Suburbia, beguiling a circle of would-be mystics. And when the Buddha falls in love with one of his disciples, the beautiful and brazen Eva, Karim is introduced to a world of renegade theater directors, punk rock stars, fancy parties, and all the sex a young man could desire. A love story for at least two generations, a high-spirited comedy of sexual manners and social turmoil, The Buddha of Suberbia is one of the most enchanting, provocative, and original books to appear in years.
Midway through the first page of this delectable first novel by screenwriter Kureishi ( My Beautiful Laundrette ; Sammy and Rosie Get Laid ), the 17-year-old narrator--``My name is Karim Amir, and I am an Englishman born and bred, almost''--observes that the plodding existence he has shared with his Indian father and English mother is about to undergo a disorienting change. The catalyst is the father, a civil servant and self-proclaimed guru whose falling in love with one of his followers precipitates events that propel his restless son out of the suburbs and into the fast lane. Karim relates these developments in a series of erotically charged episodes no less charming for their undercurrent of desperation. Though continually yanked about among disparate cultures, classes, colors, even genders--``I felt it would be heartbreaking to have to choose one or the other, like having to decide between the Beatles and the Rolling Stones''--Karim never loses his capacity for affectionate mockery. Resembling a modern-day Tom Jones , this is an astonishing book, full of intelligence and elan. 25,000 first printing; first serial to Mother Jones; QPB alternate;author tour. (May)