The Nothing is Hanif Kureishi’s powerful new work: a tense and captivating exploration of lust, helplessness, and deception.
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One night, when I am old, sick, right out of semen, and don’t need things to get any worse, I hear the noises growing louder. I am sure they are making love in Zenab’s bedroom which is next to mine.
Waldo, a fêted filmmaker, is confined by old age and ill health to his London apartment. Frail and frustrated, he is cared for by his lovely younger wife, Zee. But when he suspects that Zee is beginning an affair with Eddie, ‘more than an acquaintance and less than a friend for over thirty years,’ Waldo is pressed to action: determined to expose the couple, he sets himself first to prove his suspicions correct — and then to enact his revenge.
Written with characteristic black humour and with an acute eye for detail, Kureishi’s eagerly awaited novella will have his readers dazzled once again by a brilliant mind at work.
Hanif Kureishi’s short, sharp tale of revenge is diabolical fun.
Funny, farcical and disquieting.
The idea of a celibate Hanif Kureishi hero tormented by the very urges he once indulged is an excellent one — think Philip Roth in a chastity belt. Given the current cultural and political climate, in fact, that idea may have even more than usual appeal
The Nothing is a mere 167 pages long, but it cooks up complications, intrigues, and tangled personal histories worthy of a much longer book. It also manages to capture the last gasp of a generation that doesn’t exactly have a reputation for ageing gracefully . . . The biggest draw in The Nothing is the comic hyperbole of its crazed, manipulative, self-deprecating narrator . . . One wickedly seductive gut-punch of a book.
A punchy, disturbing fable.
Waldo’s imaginative life may be destructive, but his creator’s is as nourishing as ever.
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