Jennifer Reese
February 20, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Body (Book - Hanif Kureishi)

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In Season
Hanif Kureishi

We gave it a C+

Kureishi, author of 1990’s racy, exuberant ”The Buddha of Suburbia,” can do a lot better than this truncated, slapdash sci-fi meditation on beauty, aging, and death. Adam is a saggy, sixtysomething London playwright who goes to a party, hears about a revolutionary technique for transplanting old brains into young bodies, looks in the mirror, and signs up. He chooses a handsome new physique from the refrigerator of a dodgy underground clinic, and after a little surgery and a name change, presto: Potbellied old Adam is reborn as the well-hung Leo Raphael Adams, ”stocky and as classically handsome as any sculpture in the British Museum.” This is a nifty premise, full of narrative and philosophical possibilities, but for the remainder of this scrawny volume Adam bums around Europe, moonlights as a model, has a lot of sex, and entertains desultory, staggeringly shallow reflections on the human condition, such as the immortal: ”What were refinement and the intellect compared to a sublime f—?”

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