My son, the fanatic
My son, the fanatic by Hanif Kureishi:
My son the fanatic is a novel which was written by Hanif kureishi and was published in 1994. The novel is about the two contending and conflicting ideals that exist between Prevez and his son Ali. The author portrays Prevez as a father who works hard as a taxi driver to provide for his family and Ali as a son who is involved in the anti- western damage of Islam. For Prevez, Britain is a provider of a perfect life while Ali views Britain as an abyss of corruption and sin, a nation that is molesting the Muslims everywhere in the world.
Prevez is perplexed due to his inability face his son Ali and discuss his changing behavior since he broke up with his white girlfriend. Instead, Prevez turns to his friends who tell him that his son might be a drug addict and tries to raise money for the drugs by selling his properties (Kureishi 58). On his way home, Prevez encounters Bettina a prostitute that he protected from unruly client. Prevez shares with Bettina his son's change of behavior which he suspects has resulted from drug addiction. Bettina counsels Prevez on how he should observe his son physical health in order to establish his claims. However, after much observation Prevez realizes that there is nothing wrong with his son's health and he is not selling his properties for money as his friends claimed instead he just gives them away free of charge. The only strange change in Ali's physical appearance is his sudden habit of growing beards and his five times a day prayers which was abnormal (Kureishi 93).
During dinner with his father, Ali criticizes his father for going against the teaching of Muslim and getting alienated with the western culture since his father drunk alcohol and ate pork which was against the Koran's teaching. Ali also tells his father that he is soon dropping out studies since the western culture is wrong as it nurtures anti religious feelings in the mind of the students. Although Prevez tried to caution his son against his biased attitude and ideologies towards life, Ali sticks to his principles even if his father tries to compromise his behavior in order to please Ali especially when Prevez starts to grow beards. Still Ali keeps on criticizes his father for not keeping the teachings of Islam.
One day while Prevez was driving with Bettina, they saw Ali walking on the streets and invited him into the car, as they were driving Bettina tried to explain to Ali that his father loves him so much. This conversation angers Ali and in turn he offends Bettina who leaves the car while it is moving. Back home, Prevez drunk a lot of alcohol since he was annoyed with his son's behavior and walks into the room of Ali and starts to beat Ali who does not show any sign of retaliation. After his father stopped hitting him, then Ali asks his father who he thinks is a fanatic (Kureishi 111).
Although Hanif Kureshi wrote this novel in 1994, the novel has a lot of similarities with the terrorist attack on the London underground on 7th July 2005 which is hard to ignore. The bombing was organized by four Britons of Pakistan origin and were involved in sports such as football, cricket among others just like Ali. Many have looked this novel as a witness to the penalty the society pays when it fails understands the beliefs and attitudes of other people. To my understanding, the author uses Prevez to represent the western Governments' reaction towards the Muslim extremists and fundamentalists. Just like Prevez, when they don't understand the beliefs of others; they deport them or convict them instead of looking for ways to understand them like holding discussions and debates. As per my view, this novel is not fictional one; it is a prophetic novel that cross examines the existence of home grown radicalism.
Kureishi, Hanif. My son the fanatic. London: Faber & Faber, 1999.Print
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