Hanif Kureishi on…


We are unerring in our choice of loves, particularly when we require the wrong person.  There is an instinct, magnet or aerial which seeks the unsuitable.  The wrong person is, of course, right for something – to punish, bully or humiliate us, let us down, leave us for dead, or, worst of all, give us the impression that they are not inappropriate, but almost right, thus hanging us in love’s limbo.  Not just anyone can do this.’  (‘That Was Then’)


After all the political analysis and talk of rights, he had concluded that people had to grasp the necessity of loving one another; and if that was too much, they had to let one another alone.’  (‘The Umbrella’)


How she moved me!  Listening to her didn’t tell me why I loved her, only that I did love her.’  (‘The Body’)


For years, as children, our parents have us believe they could not live without us.  This necessity, however, never applies in the same way again, though perhaps we cannot stop looking for it.’ (‘The Body’)


He and Mother made their way back to the car.  She had never touched, held or bent down to kiss him; her body was as inaccessible to him as it probably was to her.  He  had never slept in her bed.  Now, she took his arm.  He thought she wanted him to support her, but she was steady.  Affection, it might have been.’  (‘Goodbye, Mother’)


…and when one night he touches her and feels he has never loved anything so much — if love is the loss of 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?’  (‘Nightlight’)


All citations are taken from Collected Stories, Hanif Kureishi (Faber and Faber, 2010).


Features Archive

THRESHOLDS is part of the
University of Chichester


University of Chichester
College Lane
West Sussex
PO19 6PE


Main Reception:
(+44) 01243 816000