The Buddha of Suburbia | Study Guide

Hanif Kureishi

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Course Hero. "The Buddha of Suburbia Study Guide." April 12, 2019. Accessed August 8, 2020. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Buddha-of-Suburbia/.

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Course Hero, "The Buddha of Suburbia Study Guide," April 12, 2019, accessed August 8, 2020, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Buddha-of-Suburbia/.

The Buddha of Suburbia | Part 2, Chapter 17 : In the City | Summary

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Summary

After the success of the opening of the play in New York, the cast is entertained in a lavish apartment on Central Park South. The man who runs the theater, known for his taste in ethnic artifacts, had arranged some entertainment. Speaking to Karim Amir, he promises music to help him feel at home. The "music" turns out to be drums accompanying a band of Haitian dancers, all black and theatrically decked out in hot pink and spangles.

After the entertainment Matthew Pyke announces the culmination of a game he has started with the cast. On the first day of rehearsal Pyke had asked each cast member to record who they would be sleeping with in the course of the production. At this party Pyke reads the notes that reveal how and why he had arranged for Eleanor and Karim to be together. Totally humiliated, Karim tries to get Eleanor to leave with him. She refuses, admitting she would sleep with Pyke that night.

Karim finds himself in a cab with Charlie. Charlie, late to the party, found Karim passed out and took him home. Charlie convinces Karim to stay in New York with him. After six months Karim decides to return to London and audition for a gig that is important according to his agent. Charlie begs Karim to stay and warns that London is "decrepit," not offering the money and success that Charlie has found in America. Nonetheless, Karim heads for home.

Analysis

Karim finds in America the same misunderstanding and condescension to people of color that he finds in middlebrow and academic liberated London. He is, moreover, put off by Charlie's masochistic explorations. Although Charlie argues that "you can get anything you want in America," Karim is still on an unfinished journey of his own. It is not clear that he knows what it is he wants. He is certainly pulled by his minor success on stage and the prospects of more work as an actor.

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