When Hanif Kureishi was born in 1954 Britain was still recovering from the devastating economic and social consequences of the Second World War. His childhood and adolescence saw British culture regain confidence and influence in the 1960s, with the emergence of an individualistic counterculture and the worldwide popularity of musicians such as The Beatles. The 1970s, however, were marred — in Britain and elsewhere — by economic stagnation, labour strife and instability, with the result that most of the political promise of the 1960s’ ethic of self-fulfilment was discredited. This situation produced three successive Conservative administrations in Britain, run by two Prime Ministers: Margaret Thatcher (who served two terms) and John Major. Thatcher especially fought the unions, privatized the state-owned industries she saw as inefficient, and allowed the British pound to lose value at a rate that alarmed many. Kureishi was one of many Britons who found themselves feeling both threatened and stimulated by the Thatcher-dominated 1980s and early 1990s, and his fiction deals primarily with these periods. The late 1990s and 2000s, when Tony Blair’s centrist Labour Party (elected in 1997) has been overwhelmingly dominant, have been less inspiring as fodder for political commentary.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- Introduction: Kureishi in Context
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number