Fluidity of Identity Crisis in Hanif Kureishi’s The Black Album

  • Syed Mubeen Taj Begam A M.Phil, Research Scholar, PG & Research Department of English, Sri Vidya Mandir Arts & Science College, Katteri, Uthangarai, Krishnagiri, Tamil Nadu, India
  • Gunasekaran N Research Guide, Head, PG & Research Department of English, Sri Vidya Mandir Arts & Science College, Katteri, Uthangarai, Krishnagiri, Tamil Nadu, India
Keywords: Identity Crisis, Diaspora, Hybridity, Liberalism and Fundamentalism

Abstract

Kureishi’s broad range of work focuses mainly on angst in the modern world and his characters are more or less diasporic, his work looks mainly at the Muslim
diasporic community in the West but delve into their situations and life, trying to work out an escape by maneuvering their identity as suits their purpose. All Kureishi’s works written before 1997 deals with the issue of Englishness. For this reason he has been considered by some critics as the minority artist who speaks for the entire community. Hanif Kureishi’s The Black Album represents the voice of the born Muslim who has little religious knowledge and upbringing, living in a society in which almost opposing values may force him to choose an identity for himself in order to ‘fit in’. In the novel, which is set in London in 1989, Shahid Hassan is a young Muslim college student, a born Muslim, who because of his secular family background has little knowledge about Islam. He not only has to come to terms with what it means to be a Muslim but also has to forge an identity for himself by reconciling both his Muslim and Western identities. In his search
for an identity, Shahid befriends some young Muslim students, only to realize later that they form a kind of vigilante group protecting British Muslims from violent attacks. At the same time, he falls in love with his lecturer, a former hippie who appeals to his taste for all things considered modern and fun, namely pop music and drugs. Later, in the novel, Shahid has gained a better understanding of Islam but realizes that his friends’ brand of religion is not the path that he wants to choose for himself

Published
2017-10-30