Hanif Kureishi on…

Life & Fiction

‘I feel like that old spy, a dirty betrayer with a loudspeaker, doing what I have to do.  I offer this story to you, Deborah and Nina, to make of it what you will, before I send it to the publisher.’  (‘With Your Tongue down My Throat’)


‘”Literature makes no recommendations.  It’s not a guidebook but you did learn that the imagination lifts something up and takes it somewhere else, altering it as it flies.  The original idea is only an excuse.” 

 She pretended to choke.  “The magic carpet of your imagination didn’t fly you very far, baby.  Why did you take parts of me and put them in a book?”’   (‘That Was Then’)


‘Everything personal and human [in the biography] was missing.  Then I thought: where else could you get the complexity and detail of inner motion except in fiction?  It’s the closest we can get to know how we are inside.’  (‘That Was Then’)


‘Someone in a piece of fiction is a dream figure…picked from one context and thrust into another, to serve some purpose.  A tiny portion of them is used.’  (‘That Was Then’)


‘Marcia guessed Aurelia wanted to see how she lived, that she wasn’t looking at her but through her, to the sentences and paragraphs she would make of her.  It was an admirable ruthlessness.’  (‘Sucking Stones’)


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

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