The Buddha of Suburbia | Study Guide

Hanif Kureishi

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The Buddha of Suburbia | Characters

Character Description
Haroon Amir Haroon Amir is Karim and Allie's father, Eva Kay's lover, a civil-service clerk turned guru, and a role model for his elder son. Read More
Karim Amir Karim Amir, the son of an Indian father and British mother, struggles through his adolescence to reconcile the parts of his hybrid identity and discover and adapt to a way of life significantly different from that of his parents and the quiet suburb in which he was raised. Read More
Anwar Anwar is the childhood friend of Haroon Amir. He seems to retreat into his Indian identity as he ages. Read More
Changez Changez, the unwelcome groom of Jamila's arranged marriage, adapts to a difficult new life. Read More
Jamila Anwar and Jeeta's only child, Jamila grows into a woman of deep compassion and militant feminism. Read More
Charlie Kay Charlie Kay, later known as Charlie Hero, is a perceptive reader of culture whose success depends less on his talent than on his ability to understand popular tastes. Read More
Eva Kay Eva Kay is an ambitious woman who sees a better life for herself among like-minded people. Read More
Allie Allie, whose full name is Amar Amir, is Karim's younger brother—an unselfconscious self-promoter. He becomes a clothing designer and enjoys life among the artsy, materialistic upper middle class.
Margaret Amir Margaret, mother of Allie and Karim, is a stolid British woman, seemingly incapable of change until her life is dramatically altered when Haroon leaves the family.
Carl Carl sponsors one of Haroon's talks in his elegant home in Part 1, Chapter 2.
Eleanor Eleanor, an actress, is the beautiful and privileged daughter of a wealthy American father and a British portrait-painter mother.
Hairy Back Hairy Back is Helen's father, who objects to Karim dating his daughter. He is outspoken in his racism.
Heater A working-class Scotsman, Heater is Eleanor's unlikely protégé.
Helen Helen is a privileged daughter of suburbia, oblivious to her father's racism.
Hilary Hilary is a fan of Karim's stage performance.
Auntie Jean Auntie Jean is the alcoholic, angry, racist wife of Ted; she is also Margaret Amir's sister.
Jeeta Reputed to be an Indian princess, Princess Jeeta comes to London as Anwar's bride. After his death she reshapes the grocery, making it a viable business.
Dr. Lal Dr. Lal sponsored Anwar and Haroon when they arrived in London as students.
Marianne With her husband Carl, Marianne sponsors one of Haroon's talks in her elegant home in Part 1, Chapter 2.
Marlene Marlene Pyke is the sexually liberated—and mistreated—wife of Matthew Pyke.
Matthew Matthew Pyke is an internationally known theater person who has been involved in the major avant-garde theater enterprises and psychoanalytic movements, including the Movable Theatre, Esalen Institute, Fritz Perls, and La Mama.
Jeremy Shadwell Jeremy Shadwell is a theater producer and director for small local productions; he hires Karim to act in The Jungle Book.
Shinko Shinko is a Japanese prostitute who begins a business relationship with Changez and then becomes his friend.
Simon Simon is the father of Jamila's daughter and a member of the commune in which she lives.
Uncle Ted Uncle Ted is married to Margaret Amir's sister, Auntie Jean. He is a carpenter by trade. Uncle Ted shows potential for growth in all areas of his life except for his marriage.
Terry Terry is a Marxist activist and actor. He meets Karim as part of Shadwell's cast.
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