Author: Hanif Kureishi
Release Date: September 23, 2020
Hanif Kureishi's fourth novel made many reviewers uneasy on its first appearance in the U.K., because it cuts so painfully near to the bone. If a novelist's first duty is to tell the truth, then the author has done his duty with unflinching courage. Intimacy gives us the thoughts and memories of a middle-aged writer on the night before he walks out on his wife and two young sons for of a younger woman. A very modern man, without political convictions or religious beliefs, he vaguely hopes to find fulfillment in sexual love. No one is spared Kureishi's cold, penetrating gaze or lacerating pen. "She thinks she's feminist, but she's just bad-tempered," the unnamed narrator says of his abandoned wife. A male friend advises him, "Marriage is a battle, a terrible journey, a season in hell, and a reason for living."
At the heart of Intimacy is this terrible paradox: "You don't stop loving someone just because you hate them." Male readers will wince with recognition at the narrator's hatred of entrapment and domesticity, and his implacable urge towards freedom, escape, even loneliness. Female readers may find it a truly horrific revelation. Kureishi is only telling it like it is, in staccato sentences of pinpoint accuracy. By far the author's best yet: a brilliant, devastating work. --Christopher Hart, Amazon.co.uk