‘No Longer Young and Not Yet Old’ London: Spatio-Temporal Ambivalence in Hanif Kureishi’s Something to Tell You

Abstract

This article examines the peculiar spatio-temporal ambivalence of Hanif Kureishi’s 2008 novel, Something to Tell You. Building on Doreen Massey’s (2005) understanding of space and place, I put forth a new framework of spatial production and experience, comprising the cartographical and the phenomenological. Through these terms, I argue that we can engage with both the particularity and the plurality of the novel’s representation of London. Geographic Information System (GIS) software is employed both to make explicit the novel’s relationship to cartography, and to cartographic London, but, equally, to conceptualise Something to Tell You’s reconstellation of the city. By way of conclusion, I suggest that Something to Tell You bears a political and poetic ambivalence that is symptomatic of a wider hesitancy toward representing the capital (as representation relates to stultification). And whilst this unsettledness and non-surety as to the ‘where’ and the ‘when’ of London experience is, for protagonist, Jamal, a cause of great anxiety, is it nonetheless true to the ‘reality’, in Wolfreys’ (1999) sense of the term, of living, of doing, and of being in London.

Keywords

Hanif Kureishi, London, Doreen Massey, Cartography, Social Geography, Contemporary Literature, Something to Tell You, British Asian Fiction

How to Cite

Toth H. G. (2017) “‘No Longer Young and Not Yet Old’ London: Spatio-Temporal Ambivalence in Hanif Kureishi’s Something to Tell You”, Identity Papers. 2(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.5920/idp.2017.05

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Hayley G Toth

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

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This article has been peer reviewed.

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