“My Son the Fanatic” by Hanif Kureishi begins with a description of a father who sneaks into his son’s bedroom. He sits there for hours, looking for clues as to why his son has become tidier.
The father, Parvez, is initially pleased by his son Ali’s change in behaviour, because he assumes it means that Ali is growing up. However, Parvez later finds a bag beside the dustbin with Ali’s belongings, which leads him to suspect that Ali is instead changing in a negative way. He also learns that Ali has broken up with his girlfriend, and that his friends have stopped calling him.
Parvez is not able to discuss his concerns with Ali. He is afraid of Ali but also feels his son is doing him an injustice, because he has worked hard to provide him with a good education and all the things he needed.
In time, Ali’s room becomes almost empty. Parvez becomes more worried and drinks more often. He wants to open up to his colleagues, who are other Punjabi taxi drivers like himself. However, he hesitates bec...