After The Buddha of Suburbia and The Black Album, Kureishi’s fiction seems to lose some of its public, political character. Instead, it centres on the trials and tribulations of private life (especially marriage and parenthood), probes the depths of disturbed psychological states and mental illness, and becomes increasingly self-conscious about the act of writing itself. As Bruce King writes, Kureishi’s ‘later books are about self-doubt, the onset of middle age, and the breakdown of long-term relations and moral rule’ (‘Abdulrazak Gurnah and Hanif Kureishi: Failed Revolutions’ 92). This new focus has led many readers to suppose that Kureishi moved into a more autobiographical phase in Love in a Blue Time (1997), Midnight All Day (1999) and the novella Intimacy (1998). This supposition gains some credence from Kureishi’s own admission that in writing his middle works, he followed the model of the ‘confessional monologue’, which as Susie Thomas reminds us, ‘achieved its contemporary prominence first in America with works by J. D. Salinger, Sylvia Plath … Philip Roth and Saul Bellow’ (Thomas 136). Thomas does acknowledge that ‘the blurring of autobiography and fiction emerges as a preoccupation’ in Kureishi’s ‘middle’ period (Thomas 137), but she argues that ‘it is not the case that there was a sudden break from the social themes to the self: Kureishi has always experimented with autobiographical fiction’ (Thomas 164). Thomas concedes that ‘at times [Kureishi’s] focus has been on ethnicity and racism, at other times less so’ but argues that ‘from the very beginning, Kureishi has highlighted the ways in which the personal is always political’ (Thomas 164–5).
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