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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 222

Like Humbert Humbert in Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita (1955), the protagonist of Intimacy is not likely to earn the reader’s affection, but his intense introspection and surprising honesty are nonetheless thoroughly engaging. Intimacy is less a novel than a existential cry in the wilderness, a deep encounter with a man’s soul as he decides to leave his lover and children and go in search of the elusive possibility of intimacy and love. Flanked by his friends Asif, contented with his marriage and life; and Victor, a fecklessly divorced bachelor; Jay tries to steer his own course through the twin mine fields of relationships and middle age. In one night’s ruminations, Jay exposes a lifetime of quandary about the meaning of freedom, love, responsibility, friendship, parenting, therapy, sexuality, illusion and belief. As he so eloquently puts it himself: “I am in at least three minds about all questions.” The real wonder of Hanif Kureishi’s Intimacy is that each of the protagonist’s “minds” are so profoundly interesting, and that so many arguments about love and its digressions could be succinctly stated and simplified in little over a hundred pages. Intimacy may well be the definitive statement on the seemingly inexplicable question of why men simply get up one morning and leave their homes and loved ones in search of. . . something.

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