Philip Womack

A Lack of Fulfilment



Fourth Estate 272pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Everything in this witty, perplexing yet rewarding book is precarious. The characters meld into each other, and Handler’s voice interrupts sometimes; he even steps into the text in the chapter labelled ‘Truly’. The lives of his characters, who lope around diners, get into taxis and go to the movies, are infused with tension, menace and controlled hilarity as they struggle to drag themselves into certainty, with a sense of fulfilment being dangled just out of reach, as if each person were a modern-day Tantalus.

Handler writes charmingly, but suffers from the current American habit of writing long sentences with little punctuation; he redeems himself by saving punch lines or deliciously incongruous statements for the end.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • sorry I can’t spell fluttering. I was agitated.,
    • Probably try and get an announcement out later, for all these male writers who think of fluttering inner muscle sheaths...,
    • He felt the muscles far inside her flutteriung around him,
    • Next week sees return, and we've got discounted tickets on offer, right here: ,
    • We're rarely topical - tricky as a monthly magazine - but we've an article this month all about Laurence Binyon, po… ,
    • "We will remember them" - who wrote those words, and why have them become our terms of memorial? ,
    • RT : Wow. We're over the moon with this stunning piece on My Cat Yugoslavia, 'a truly extraordinary novel.'… ,