Coming of Age
The Buddha of Suburbia is a bildungsroman, or a coming of age novel. It follows 17-year-old Karim Amir as he grows up and comes of age, beginning in the early 1970s and ending on the eve of the 1979 election in which Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister. Over those ten years, Karim watches his parents divorce, Dad enter into a passionate relationship with Eva (a sexy social climber), and her son, Charlie, become a…read analysis of Coming of Age
Family, Love, and Loyalty
At its heart, The Buddha of Suburbia is a classic family drama. As Karim grows up and comes of age, he watches his parents divorce and his best childhood friend enter into a sexless marriage. Throughout the novel, Karim questions constantly what family truly means and how loyalty functions within a family unit. Though his conclusions at the end are somewhat tenuous, Karim comes to understand that loyalty doesn't always mean the same thing throughout…read analysis of Family, Love, and Loyalty
Racism, Success, and Identity
Karim begins his narration by introducing himself as, "an Englishman born and bred, almost." His "almost" refers to the fact that his father, Haroon, emigrated from India twenty years earlier and married an Englishwoman. Because of his Indian heritage, Karim often finds that he's unable to fully embrace his English identity while he's simultaneously forced to confront uncomfortable aspects of Indian culture—or what others believe to be Indian culture.
Karim characterizes where his family…read analysis of Racism, Success, and Identity