Intimacy by Hanif Kureishi
A Novel

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 7 Critic Reviews



"Nothing is as fascinating as love, unfortunately."

Jay, the narrator of Hanif Kureishi's third novel, tells his story on the night that he is preparing to leave his lover, Susan, and their two boys. His departure will not be impulsive: "I have contemplated this rupture from all sides," he says. But it will happen. He and Susan live comfortably in London. Each loves the children. Yet Jay, "lost in the middle of [his] life," craves and depends on passion in life, and it is no longer there.

Known for "very funny works about serious topics" (San Francisco Review of Books) and his uncanny ability to capture the mores of our time, Kureishi strips away all posturing and self-justification to expose the flaws of his own protagonist and the failure of intimacy. Searingly honest, he explores the fears and desires that drive a man to leave a woman. Rarely has such challenging and complex emotion fit into so compact a novel; rarely has an experience both common and uniquely devastating been so courageously portrayed.


About Hanif Kureishi

See more books from this Author
Hanif Kureishi studied philosophy at the University of London and began writing plays for the Royal Court when he was twenty-one. Kureishi's script for My Beautiful Laundrette earned him an Academy Award nomination for best screenplay. He also wrote the screenplays for Sammy and Rosie Get Laid, London Kills Me (which he also directed), and My Son the Fanatic, adapted from the short story in his collection Love in a Blue Time. His novels The Buddha of Suburbia (winner of the Whitbread Prize) and The Black Album have been translated into fifteen languages. He lives in London.
Published April 4, 1998 by Faber & Faber. 100 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Intimacy

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

But there obviously isn’t nearly enough material here for a book, and we feel Kureishi straining on virtually every page to make his turgid (even if brief) acts of self-analysis into one.

| Read Full Review of Intimacy: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Jay and Susan lead comfortable lives in contemporary London: efficient, ambitious Susan works in publishing and reads cookbooks in bed, and withdrawn but steady Jay is a successful movie and TV scriptwriter.

| Read Full Review of Intimacy: A Novel

AV Club

See more reviews from this publication

Intimacy does offer some flashes of good writing, especially in the much truer sense of ambiguity its central character feels about deserting his two children, but the relationship between Jay and the mother of those children remains shockingly undeveloped.

Mar 29 2002 | Read Full Review of Intimacy: A Novel

Entertainment Weekly

But Kureishi's protagonist, Jay, is such a sad sack of macho cliches — from his chronic philandering to his aversion to housework to his belief that divorcing one's wife means abandoning one's kids — that he emerges as a '50s relic in a Vivienne Westwood jacket.

Apr 09 1999 | Read Full Review of Intimacy: A Novel


As articulations of desire go – and this work is littered with them – this one, with its playground overtones, is the most telling, since Jay is in his early forties and married with two children, writes Claire Allfree.

Aug 19 2002 | Read Full Review of Intimacy: A Novel

Project MUSE

(Kureishi's sister recently refuted certain of Intimacy's familial facts, accusing Kureishi of fictionalizing their family into a stereotype of alterity easily digested by the masses.) When Jay leaves Susan, he hints that he might hook back up with his erstwhile twentysomething love-interest, Nina.

| Read Full Review of Intimacy: A Novel


The first English-language feature from veteran French theater and film director Patrice Chereau, "Intimacy" is a tortured reflection on the complex relationship between love, sex, desire and obsession, distinguished by courageously raw performances from leads Mark Rylance and Kerry Fox.

Jan 23 2001 | Read Full Review of Intimacy: A Novel

Reader Rating for Intimacy

An aggregated and normalized score based on 52 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review