The ultimately encouraging message of Piers Paul Read’s otherwise realistic and acerbically witty new novel is that misogyny is curable, even if only by atheistic prayer.
The misogynist of the title, one Geoffrey Jomier, is a retired English barrister who failed more than once to be appointed QC, and now, in his sixties, is living a bachelor’s life in London, in circumstances straitened by divorce. He can no longer afford to have his hair cut and shampooed at Trumper’s or belong to the Garrick. Embittered by the memory of his only wife’s infidelity and remarriage to a richer, more powerful and hairier man, Jomier feels he has a lot to be misogynistic about, yet yearns for the love of a woman.
In his sixty-ninth year (lucky man! Oh to be sixty-nine again!), Read writes expertly on what he calls ‘sexagenarian sex’, an activity, in Jomier’s case, that must be supported by chemically stimulated hydraulic engineering and his mistress’s lubrication by synthetic unguents. One example of his much criticised parsimony