To give you a broader perspective on Hanif Kureishi’s short story, “The Penis”, we have added a few points relating the story to current issues, critical reception, literary movement and similar works.

Current issues

The story was published in 1999 and takes places in a surrealistic context. However, the surrealistic context can be interpreted as an exaggerated version of some issues that we also deal with today. Objectification is often a debated issue in our society.


Critical reception and literary period

Hanif Kureishi’s collection Midnight All Day has received mixed reviews. Some readers appreciate the author’s dark style while others find it too gloomy and hard to grasp. “The Penis” is considered an exception in the collection because it is the only surrealistic short story.


Works in the same genre

To grasp the feel of surrealistic short stories we also encourage you to read “Born Again” by Anne Billson (Now&Zen, p. 76). The story follows a born again virgin who is the target of attacks because she is pregnant with something evil (most likely Satan’s child).


Works with the same theme

For the theme of sexuality, we recommend that you read the short story “Dead as They Come” by Ian McEwan. In the short story, a rich business man falls in love with a lifeless mannequin and buys it.


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