The Nothing by Hanif Kureishi - review by Anthony Cummins

Anthony Cummins

Steady, Eddie

The Nothing


Faber & Faber 167pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

Women whom Hanif Kureishi’s protagonists have known include Julia (in The Last Word, 2014), who swears by a beauty regime that involves rubbing the hero’s semen into her forehead; Nina (Intimacy, 1998), who invited the narrator, twice her age, ‘to masturbate on her back, stomach or feet while she slept’ or ‘before she rushed off, to have me on her on the tube’; and now Zenab (also known as Zee), who in the early days of marriage to the elderly narrator, Waldo, lived on nothing but ‘dates – maybe one, or sometimes two a day – and yogurt and semen’. This isn’t usually what we mean by a wild imagination.

Waldo is a decorated film director with a CBE (like Kureishi) who suspects Zee is sleeping with Eddie, a rackety journalist who is a regular guest at their London mansion flat. Eddie is (we learn) plotting a con trick with a Soho-based former convict whose hold on him depends on

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