Hanif Kureishi on…

Sex & Desire


‘I used to like talking about sex.  All of life, I imagined – from politics to aesthetics – merged in passionate human conjunction.  A caress, not to speak of a kiss, could transport you from longing to Russia, on to Velazquez and ahead to anarchism.’  (‘Blue, Blue Pictures of You’)


‘I never lost my fearful fascination with women’s bodies.  The women seemed to understand this: that the force of our desire made us crazy and terrified.  You could kill a woman for wanting her too much.’  (‘The Body’)


‘He was fumbling in his inside pocket when he found something strange.

He pulled it out.

“What’s that?” his wife said.  She came closer.  “It’s a penis,” she said.  “You’ve come home with a man’s penis — complete with balls and pubic hair — in your pocket.  Where did you get it?” (‘The Penis’)


‘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.’  (‘Nightlight’)


‘But in love each moment is magnified, and every gesture, word and syllable is examined like a speech by the President.  Solid expectation, unfurled hope, immeasurable disappointment — all are hurled together like a cocktail of random drugs that, quaffed within the hour, make both lovers reel.  If she dressed up and went to a party with a male friend, he spent the night catatonic with paranoia; if he saw an old girlfriend, she assumed they would never speak again.’  (‘Blue, Blue Pictures of You’)


‘When it comes to love, we are all stalkers.’   (‘Goodbye, Mother’)


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



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