Listen free for 30 days

One credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
Unlimited listening to the Plus Catalogue - thousands of select Audible Originals, podcasts and audiobooks.
Exclusive member-only deals.
No commitment - cancel anytime.
Buy Now for £18.99

Buy Now for £18.99

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Summary

A Radio 4 Book Club Selection.

The hero of Hanif Kureishi's debut novel is a dreamy teenager, desperate to escape suburban South London and experience the forbidden fruits which the 1970s seem to offer. When the unlikely opportunity of a life in the theatre announces itself, Karim starts to win the sort of attention he has been craving, albeit with some rude and raucous results.

©1990 Hanif Kureishi (P)2003 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: LGBTQ+

Critic reviews

"An astonishing book, full of intelligence and elan." ( Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about The Buddha of Suburbia

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    28
  • 4 Stars
    24
  • 3 Stars
    16
  • 2 Stars
    9
  • 1 Stars
    8
Performance
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    19
  • 4 Stars
    17
  • 3 Stars
    14
  • 2 Stars
    9
  • 1 Stars
    10
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    34
  • 4 Stars
    22
  • 3 Stars
    7
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    2

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Buddha of surburbia

I first saw this as a series on TV and heard part of it on the radio, an excellent book let down badly by the audio version - the narrator of this book does little to conjure up a sense of the main characters; Knowing the area well, the accent feels completely wrong.

I would however try this book again should it become available with a different narrator - a lesson in always listening to a samplw first!

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Was this recorded in a bucket?

The worst audiobook production I think I’ve ever heard. Was it recorded on a ‘70s cassette recorder from Woolworths in a, sadly mis-fucking-guided, stab at authenticity? You’ve completely bollocksed an amazing book. For shame.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent story, terrible audio production

A wonderful story exploring (or perhaps exposing) archetypically 70’s Britain and the complex relationships that form when people come together from different faiths, ideologies and continents. Prejudices are confronted - from racism to sexism to homophobia to disability discrimination - and wrapped in an enjoyable narrative.

The audio production let the book down - of poor and variable quality. It sounds like the microphone/studio changed part way though, then changed back. I hope this audio doesn’t turn people off the book, which would be a shame.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Good Book Very Poor Quality Recording

The book is entertaining and interesting but this is the poorest quality audio book recording I’ve ever listened to. There is a jerky “break” from one reader to another about 40% of the way through (or perhaps to the same reader recorded on another device and another “break” back around an hour later. I also found the general sound quality rather “AM Radio” and the performance week. In my view, the overall quality of the recording is so poor, Audible should take it off sale

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

The Buddha of Suburbia

I listened to it all the way through, but it was painful to say the least, it seemed nothing short of a diary without any interesting bits, I couldn't find a purpose for the book and the narrator did nothing to enhance it.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful story but spoilt by the awful narration

I loved the book , have read it several times and have seen the TV dramatization several times but this for me was nearly spoilt by the standard of the recording. The tone of the narrators voice changed in different periods of the recording which I wonder was a fault in the production as on passage of narration would sound completely different to the next.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Who would think a Buddha could be so boring?!

I am reading this book with a group. There is only one version, so I was unable to choose another. As soon as there is one please let me know!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Good story, terrible editing

I enjoyed the story but it was spoilt by the editing of the narration. The narrator was fine it was just the editing. It was obviously not checked before being released. I listen to many audible books and this is the first time with this problem

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Enjoy listening

This is a great story performed by Mick Jagger; however, the recording needs updating as the sound quality isn’t great and changes with some rough edits. Still very good though.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

I loved the narration!!

Well after reading all the reviews I was not looking forward to listening to this book!!
However, I found Christopher Simpsons voice perfect. He had such attitude in his voice and his portrayal of Karim’s father and Changez was really entertaining. The book was so insightful of that era and a very enjoyable read. I do agree that the quality of the recording was off putting but it did get better further into the book. I would recommend it despite this.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Alexander
  • Alexander
  • 21-03-09

A bit disappointing

I had read the Book and I had seen the BBC Miniseries amd I liked both very much. The problem with this Audiobook is the Reader. To be frank, he sounds as he was about to fall asleep. I have heard many brilliant british Readers. This one, is not one of them.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for krzysztof
  • krzysztof
  • 20-05-11

Noteworthy

This book is somewhat reminiscent of "White Teeth" by Zadie Smith. Both deal with meeting of immigrant (Indian in Kureishi's novel, Bangladeshi and Jamaican in "White Teeth") and European cultures. This is shown happening across several generations. Immigrants have children and the traditional generation gap that arises is still widened by civilization differences. The children often face identity problem.

The reader is competent. Not too fast not too slow, and doing a good job with accents. The only downside to this production is the quality of sound. Various parts of this audio give the impression of being recorded in different environments of which I was able to distinguish a dungeon and a bathroom.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Liz B
  • Liz B
  • 24-09-22

Recommended with qualifications.

The second half of the novel, in particular the development of the relationship between Karim and Charlie loses credibility whereas the early part. structured around Karim's family and the conflicts of loyalty he experiences, feels very authentic.

The generally high quality of the narration was somewhat marred by a mismatch in timing compared with the digital display of chapters.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Karen Brooks
  • Karen Brooks
  • 17-07-22

Bloody marvelous

Life in the '70s remembers well. This is such a great read, shows what London in the '70s was really like. Not a PC read, lots of foul language (which was how it was then), and so correct in its depiction of racial harassment and the difficulties some ethnic cultures suffered. Well narrated, given this is an old 1970's series this narration took me back.
Great listen

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Clio
  • Clio
  • 09-03-14

Terrible production quality

Any additional comments?

Audio is fuzzy and static-y. More annoying is the constant sound of people talking in the background, very distracting if you're listening on headphones. There are no pauses between chapters, so it feels as though we launch into the next chapter seemingly mid-sentence! Different sections of the audio sound markedly different, so different it seems like a different narrator has taken over. The narration itself is fine but the sloppy production quality made this very, very hard going for me. Do not buy.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Daljeet
  • Daljeet
  • 14-07-12

I am unhappy with the audio.

Would you try another book from Hanif Kureishi and/or Christopher Simpson?

yes

Has The Buddha of Suburbia turned you off from other books in this genre?

no..

How could the performance have been better?

I love Hanif Kureishi's work, but the audible was very bad. There is a nagging background noise of a dripping tap and various other muffled sounds. It just ruined the listening experience for me...

Any additional comments?

Audible needs to do a review on the quality before the consumer commits to a purchase.
Its a catch 22, 1st you like the author so you buy the book to listen to his/her work & 2nd since its paid for one is stuck with poor audio quality. I find this unacceptable.