LOVE IN A BLUE TIME: SHORT STORIES

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9780684848181: LOVE IN A BLUE TIME: SHORT STORIES

This provocative collection of short stories charts the growth of a generation from the liberating irreverence of the late 1970s to the dilemmas of responsibility and fidelity of the 1990s. The stories resonate with Hanif Kureishi's dead-on observations of human passion and folly, his brilliant depiction of seedy locales and magical characters, and his original, wicked sense of humor.

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About the Author:

Hanif Kureishi won the prestigious Whitbread Prize for The Buddha of Suburbia and was twice nominated for Oscars for best original screenplay (My Beautiful Laundrette and Venus, which starred Peter O’Toole). In 2010 Kureishi received the prestigious PEN/Pinter Prize. He lives in London.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Story 8: "Nightlight"

'There must always be two to a kiss.'

R. L. Stevenson, 'An Apology for Idlers'

She comes to him late on Wednesdays, only for sex, the cab waiting outside. Four months ago someone recommended her to him for a job but he has no work she can do. He doesn't even pay himself now. They talk of nothing much, and there are silences in which they can only look at one another. But neither wants to withdraw and something must be moving between them, for they stand up together and lie down beside the table, without speaking.

Same time next week she is at the door. They undress immediately. She leaves, not having slept, but he has felt her dozing before she determinedly shakes herself awake. She collects herself quickly without apology, and goes without looking back. He has no idea where she lives or where she is from.

Now she doesn't come into the house, but goes straight down into the basement he can't afford to furnish, where he has thrown blankets and duvets on the carpet. They neither drink nor play music and can barely see one another. It's a mime show in this room where everything but clarity, it seems, is permitted.

At work his debts increase. What he has left could be taken away, and no one but him knows it. He is losing his hold and does it matter? Why should it, except that it is probably terminal; if one day he feels differently, there'll be no way back.

For most of his life, particularly at school, he's been successful, or en route to somewhere called Success. Like most people he has been afraid of being found out, but unlike most he probably has been. He has a small flat, an old car and a shabby feeling. These are minor losses. He misses steady quotidian progress, the sense that his well-being, if not happiness, is increasing, and that each day leads to a recognisable future. He has never anticipated this extent of random desolation.

Three days a week he picks up his kids from school, feeds them, and returns them to the house into which he put most of his money, and which his wife now forbids him to enter. Fridays he has dinner with his only male friend. After, they go to a black bar where he likes the music. The men, mostly in their thirties, and whose lives are a mystery to him, seem to sit night after night without visible discontent, looking at women and at one another. He envies this, and wonders if their lives are without anxiety, whether they have attained a stoic resignation, or if it is a profound uselessness they are stewing in.

On this woman's day he bathes for an hour. He can't recall her name, and she never says his. She calls him, when necessary, 'man'. Soon she will arrive. He lies there thinking how lucky he is to have one arrangement which costs nothing.

Five years ago he left the wife he didn't know why he married for another woman, who then left him without explanation. There have been others since. But when they come close he can only move backwards, without comprehending why.

His wife won't speak. If she picks up the phone and hears his voice, she calls for the kids, those intermediaries growing up between immovable hatreds. A successful woman, last year she found she could not leave her bed at all. She will have no help and the children have to minister to her. They are inclined to believe that he has caused this. He begins to think he can make women insane, even as he understands that this flatters him.

Now he has this inexplicable liaison. At first they run tearing at one another with middle-aged recklessness and then lie silently in the dark, until desire, all they have, rekindles. He tells himself to make the most of the opportunity.

When she's gone he masturbates, contemplating what they did, imprinting it on his mind for ready reference: she on her stomach, him on the boat of her back, his face in her black hair forever. He thinks of the fluffy black hairs, flattened with sweat, like a toff's parting, around her arsehole.

Walking about later he is both satisfied and unfulfilled, disliking himself for not knowing why he is doing this -- balked by the puzzle of his own mind and the impossibility of grasping why one behaves so oddly, and why one ends up resenting people for not providing what one hasn't been able to ask for. Surely this new thing is a web of illusion, and he is a fool? But he wants more foolishness, and not only on Wednesdays.

The following weeks she seems to sense something. In the space where they lie beneath the level of the street, almost underground -- a mouse's view of the world -- she invites him to lie in different positions; she bids him touch different parts of her body. She shows him they can pore over one another.

Something intriguing is happening in this room, week after week. He can't know what it might be. He isn't certain she will turn up; he doesn't trust her, or any woman, not to let him down. Each week she surprises him, until he wonders what might make her stop.

One Wednesday the cab doesn't draw up. He stands at the window in his dressing gown and slippers for three hours, feeling in the first hour like Casanova, in the second like a child awaiting its mother, and during the third like an old man. Is she sick, or with her husband? He lies on the floor where she usually lies, in a fever of desire and longing, until, later, he feels a presence in the room, a hanging column of air, and sits up and cries out at this ghost.

He assumes he is toxic. For him, lacking disadvantages has been a crime in itself. He grasps the historical reasons for this, since his wife pointed them out. Not that this prevented her living off him. For a while he did try to be the sort of man she might countenance. He wept at every opportunity, and communicated with animals wherever he found them. He tried not to raise his voice, though for her it was 'liberating' to get wild. Soon he didn't know who he was supposed to be. They both got lost. He dreaded going home. He kept his mouth shut, for fear of what would come out; this made her search angrily for a way in.

Now he worries that something has happened to this new woman and he has no way of knowing. What wound or hopelessness has made her want only this?

Next week she does come, standing in the doorway, coat-wrapped, smiling, in her early thirties, about fifteen years younger than him. She might have a lover or husband; might be unemployed; might be disillusioned with love, or getting married next week. But she is tender. How he has missed what they do together.

The following morning he goes downstairs and smells her on the sheets. The day is suffused with her, whoever she is. He finds himself thinking constantly of her, pondering the peculiar mixture of ignorance and intimacy they have. If sex is how you meet and get to know people, what does he know of her? On her body he can paint only imaginary figures, as in the early days of love, when any dreams and desires can be flung onto the subject, until reality upsets and rearranges them. Not knowing, surely, is beautiful, as if everything one learns detracts from the pleasures of pure imagination. Fancy could provide them with more satisfaction than reality.

But she is beginning to make him wonder, and when one night he touches her and feels he has never loved anything so much -- if love is loss of the self in the other then, yes, he loves her -- he begins to want confirmation of the notions which pile up day after day without making any helpful shape. And, after so many years of living, the expensive education, the languages he imagined would be useful, the books and newspapers studied, can he be capable of love only with a silent stranger in a darkened room? But he dismisses the idea of speaking, because he can't take any more disappointment. Nothing must disturb their perfect evenings.

You want sex and a good time, and you get it; but it usually comes with a free gift -- someone like you, a person. Their arrangement seems an advance, what many people want, the best without the worst, and no demands -- particularly when he thinks, as he does constantly, of the spirit he and his wife wasted in dislike and sniping, and the years of taking legal and financial revenge. He thinks often of the night he left.

He comes in late, having just left the bed of the woman he is seeing, who has said she is his. The solid bulk of his wife, her back turned, is unmoving. His last night. In the morning he'll talk to the kids and go, as so many men he knows have done, people who'd thought that leaving home was something you did only once. Most of his friends, most of the people he knows, are on the move from wife to wife, husband to husband, lover to lover. A city of love vampires, turning from person to person, hunting the one who will make the difference.

He puts on the light in the hall, undresses and is about to lie down when he notices that she is now lying on her back and her eyes are open. Strangely she looks less pale. He realises she is wearing eyeshadow and lipstick. Now she reaches out to him, smiling. He moves away; something is wrong. She throws back the covers and she is wearing black and red underwear. She has never, he is certain, dressed like this before.

'It's too late,' he wants to cry.

He picks up his clothes, rushes to the door and closes it behind him. He doesn't know what he is doing, only that he has to get out. The hardest part is going into the children's room, finding their faces in the mess of blankets and toys, and kissing them goodbye.

This must have turned his mind, for, convinced that people have to take something with them, he hurries into his study and attempts to pick up his computer. There are wires; he cannot disconnect it. He gathers up the television from the shelf. He's carrying this downstairs when he turns and sees his wife, still in her tart garb, with a dressing gown on top, screaming, 'Where are you going? Where? Where?'

He shouts, 'You've had ten years of me, ten years and no more, no more!'

He slips on the step and falls forward, doubling up over the TV and tripping down the remaining ...

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Descrizione libro Prentice Hall (a Pearson Education Company), United Kingdom, 1999. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.In these ten wry and exhilirating stories, Hanif Kureishi, author of The Buddha of Suburbia, The Black Album, and of the screenplays for My Beautiful Laundrette, Sammy and Rosie Get Laid, London Kills Me, and My Son the Fanatic, brilliantly captures the passion and folly of the human comedy. Written over the span of a decade, Love in a Blue Time reveals the essence of a generation - from the liberating irreverence of the seventies to the dilemmas and disillusionments of the nineties. Codice libro della libreria APC9780684848181

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Descrizione libro Prentice Hall (a Pearson Education Company), United Kingdom, 1999. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. In these ten wry and exhilirating stories, Hanif Kureishi, author of The Buddha of Suburbia, The Black Album, and of the screenplays for My Beautiful Laundrette, Sammy and Rosie Get Laid, London Kills Me, and My Son the Fanatic, brilliantly captures the passion and folly of the human comedy. Written over the span of a decade, Love in a Blue Time reveals the essence of a generation - from the liberating irreverence of the seventies to the dilemmas and disillusionments of the nineties. Codice libro della libreria APC9780684848181

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Descrizione libro Scribner. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Paperback. 224 pages. Dimensions: 8.0in. x 5.3in. x 0.5in.This provocative collection of short stories charts the growth of a generation from the liberating irreverence of the late 1970s to the dilemmas of responsibility and fidelity of the 1990s. The stories resonate with Hanif Kureishis dead-on observations of human passion and folly, his brilliant depiction of seedy locales and magical characters, and his original, wicked sense of humor. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Codice libro della libreria 9780684848181

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Descrizione libro Prentice Hall (a Pearson Education Company), United Kingdom, 1999. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. In these ten wry and exhilirating stories, Hanif Kureishi, author of The Buddha of Suburbia, The Black Album, and of the screenplays for My Beautiful Laundrette, Sammy and Rosie Get Laid, London Kills Me, and My Son the Fanatic, brilliantly captures the passion and folly of the human comedy. Written over the span of a decade, Love in a Blue Time reveals the essence of a generation - from the liberating irreverence of the seventies to the dilemmas and disillusionments of the nineties. Codice libro della libreria LIE9780684848181

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