Tim Parks’s new novel begins with a dilemma. Should the middle-aged narrator view his mother’s corpse? Thomas cannot make up his mind. But then he can rarely decide about anything. In a book rich with biblical references, he is Doubting Thomas. But he is also Thomas the Twin, the other name for the dubious apostle. On the most apparently simple matters – sending an email, booking a flight – he is divided against himself.
The one big decision that he has managed to take is to leave his wife for a much younger woman in Spain. However, he is even having second thoughts about that. To make matters worse, his body is at war with him, causing him to be racked with