He perhaps shows in these stories that what he has always been interested in is the unfathomable pitch of sexuality-- ultimately idiosyncratic and endlessly fascinating, a chaotic accumulation of people's myriad specific needs, anxieties and desires.
Kureishi has moved away from the more obviously politicised terrain of earlier work, though elegiac glimpses of it surface occasionally, ruminations on the wake of idealism. If the long years of Thatcherism made a kind of political writing unavoidable, the 90s has seen a shift of focus to the landscape within, to what we are as men or women. This selfishness stems from a recognition of the inability ever to know the other. ("If falling in lov e could only be a glimpse of the other, who was the passion really directed at?") What remains is the search for gratification and the scrutiny of one's own impulses, an alternation between compulsion and a need for freedom.
The final story, "The Penis", is an unsubtle reworking of Gogol's "The Nose". It is as if, after all the analysis, Kureishi is despairing of ever reaching a better understanding of love: all that's left is one man and his dick, in uneasy alliance....Continua