I didn't want to attempt reading Kureishi by starting with this novel because I had the distinct feeling that it is not his best work...but here we are, and I think I was right, alas.Kureishi, Hanif. Gabriel's Gift. New York: Scribner, 2001.Summary
: Gabriel Bunch's father Rex, one-time bassist for rock star Lester Jones, has moved out and hit rock-bottom. However, Gabriel puts his father under pressure and helps him to get a job as a music tutor--and his father finally grows up and marries his mother. Meanwhile, Gabriel has made the best use possible of his father's contacts, getting a start at both filmmaking and painting careers.Comments
: I found this novel only marginally entertaining and not even remotely amusing. Kureishi's meditations on the intersections of creativity, maturity, and responsibility struck me as more tedious than enlightened; there are better ways to write about Peter Pan Syndrome. The prose itself was, surprisingly, more American-style spare and British-style elegant, but, regardless, the characters were as flat as pancakes. I couldn't even muster the requisite outrage and annoyance over Rex's immaturity and self-pity, and attempts to make Gabriel interesting--his hallucinations and his conversations with his deceased twin brother Archie--failed to give him any color. The other dad who "goes gay" was just surreal. The story also jumped forward and backward in time rather ham-handedly, leading to occasional confusion on my part. It's painfully obvious that Kureishi has talent and things to say as a writer, but none of it is exploited here, and none of the author's multiethnic identity made it into this novel, either. A shame, really. Naeem Murr was the same, come to think of it. Is whitewashing your storylines a multiethnic British thing???Notes
: hardcover, 1st American edition, out-of-print; trade paperback edition availableRating
- A forgettable novel about talent that is distinctly untalented.