Cover image for Gabriel's gift : a novel
Gabriel's gift : a novel
Kureishi, Hanif.
Personal Author:
First Schribner edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Scribner, 2001.
Physical Description:
223 pages ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order


Author Notes

Hanif Kureishi won England's prestigious Whitbread Prize for his first novel, The Buddha of Suburbia. His screenplays include Sammy and Rosie Get Laid and My Beautiful Laundrette, which received an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay. His other works include the novels The Black Album and Gabriel's Gift and the short story collection Love in a Blue Time. He lives in London. (Publisher Fact Sheets)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Fifteen-year-old Londoner Gabriel is a precocious artist, an aspiring filmmaker who has written a good script, and a surviving twin who still consults (and gets good advice from) his dead brother. Moreover, he keeps his head when those about him--his parents, in particular--lose theirs. Rex, a once-famous rock guitarist who took a bad onstage fall and never really got back up, has lazed for so long that Christine has kicked him out, got a job, and is bringing home men Gabriel finds dubious. With low-key determination, Gabriel starts tagging along when Rex or Christine sees successful old friends. Working their connections better than they do, he gets Rex launched on a new career, gets Christine's flings out of the house, gets the two together again (they even get married), and is rewarded for his undetected pains with the gift of a professional 16mm camera. Kureishi's other career as a screenwriter-director shows all over this endearing, dialogue-and-blocking-heavy book that would make--surprise!--a heartwarming movie. --Ray Olson

Publisher's Weekly Review

In 2001, Kureishi set teacups rattling in England with Intimacy, a sexually explicit novella about an extramarital affair, with possible real-life parallels. Here he concocts an appealing, deceptively breezy coming-of-age story recalling his screenplays (My Beautiful Laundrette; Sammy and Rosie Get Laid) in its tender evocation of London-area grunge. Since Mum banished Dad three months ago, 15-year-old Gabriel Bunch has been on the equivalent of house arrest. Nannied to death by hairy Hannah, a refugee from the Communist town of "Bronchitis," Gabriel copes by smoking pot, talking to his dead twin brother, Archie, and drawing objects that disturbingly come to life. Then his dad, Rex, a '60s-era guitarist now wallowing in a squalid bedsit, gets a call from Lester Jones, a David Bowie-like rock god who still packs 'em in. Rex brings Gabriel to meet Lester, who recognizes Gabriel's artistic gifts and gives him a painting that soon becomes central to a virtual custody battle between Mum and Dad and Gabriel himself. The plot is a familiar domestic triangle, as the parents vie for Gabriel's allegiance. But all three Bunches are rich characters capable of sudden growth spurts and surrounded by a crowd of psychedelically colorful friends and associates. Kureishi's loose, loopy style will keep readers off-balance ("She was a person around whom different odors seemed to congregate, like bums on a street corner"). Yet behind the apparent artlessness, this is a shrewd, warmly imagined portrayal of the healing powers of art. (Oct.) Forecast: Kureishi's rep and the psychedelic jacket should help sell this title, especially in big city stores. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

British author, playwright, and screenwriter (My Beautiful Laundrette), Kureishi is in the spotlight nowadays, most notably for his 2001 novel Intimacy (LJ 12/98), recently made into a motion picture and notorious for a sexually explicit scene with name actors. However, this excellent novel, reissued here in paperback with Midnight All Day, a collection of original short stories, occupies itself less with sex than with the basic issue of intimacy and the struggles of Jay, on the verge of leaving his wife and two children for an uncertain relationship with a much younger woman. The author strikes the right chord, with Jay (who some say is a stand-in for Kureishi) addressing the reader directly, weighing his options, and recounting his life with Susan and with his lover, Nina. Jay is no doubt self-obsessed, and Kureishi stacks the deck in his favor by showing mostly the shrewish side of Susan, but this is a fascinating and intelligent examination of one man's perception of a burnt-out marriage and of what he needs instead. The collected stories sketch out similar portraits of love and intimacy. In "Strangers When We Meet," for instance, the final chapter of an affair comes to a close when a husband happens on what was intended to be a rendezvous; in the excellent "Girl," the histories of a young woman and her older lover uneasily mesh together through a first visit to her mother. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.