My Son the Fanatic

Hanif Kureishi

Faber 90th Stories brings together some of our finest short stories, past, present and future.

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I’m going to tell him to pick up his prayer mat and get out of my house.

When Parvez’s son Ali starts clearing out his bedroom, Parvez assumes he’s taking drugs and selling his possessions to pay for them. His fellow taxi drivers are triumphant: they knew something was wrong. Bettina, the prostitute Parvez regularly drives home, tells him what signs to look out for.

But nothing is physically different about Ali except that he is growing a beard ‚Äď and praying five times a day. He condemns his father for drinking alcohol and eating bacon, and assures him that the Law of Islam will rule the world.

First published in March 1994, Hanif Kureishi’s comedy of assimilation is both uproariously funny and so prescient it’s barely funny at all.

Critic Reviews

There's a sort of insatiable candour to Kureishi's writing at its best, a need to put down in words what one hardly dares think.


Hanif Kureishi was born and brought up in Kent. He read philosophy at King’s College, London. In 1981 he won the George Devine Award for his plays¬†Outskirts¬†and¬†Borderline, and in 1982 he was appointed Writer-in-Residence at the Royal Court Theatre. In 1984 he wrote¬†My Beautiful Laundrette, which received an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay. His second screenplay¬†Sammy¬†and Rosie Get Laid¬†(1987) was…

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