My Ear at His Heart (2005)
Hanif Kureishi offers a remarkable insight into the birth of a writer - himself - through this memoir that conjures up a family story of how he found his own literary calling from the ashes of his father's failed attempts in the past.
The wellspring of the memoir is Kureishi's discovery of an abandoned manuscript that recounts his father's childhood in Bombay as the world turns upside down and India splits in two along religious lines: thus a family that had lived in India for generations now had to accept a Pakistani identity. And so begins a journey which takes Kureishi through his father's privileged childhood by the sea in Bombay to his adult life hidden away in the suburbs of Bromley - his days spent as a minor functionary in the Pakistan embassy in London, his nights writing prose, hopeful of one day receiving literary recognition . . .