D J Taylor

When Harry Met Mamoon

The Last Word

By

Faber & Faber 286pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

What with the screenwriting and the creative-writing professorships, Hanif Kureishi’s career as a writer of fiction has rather stalled of late. Beyond his psychiatrist’s-couch novel, Something to Tell You (2008), the attentive reader would have to go all the way back to the 2002 short-story collection, The Body, for evidence of any sustained commitment to the form. Neither of these books stirred any great enthusiasm in the critics, if only because it was possible to suspect that in sending these serial versions of Kureishi-man – middle-aged, media-bound and sexually fixated – tripping into agreeable west London restaurants to dine with similarly situated friends, Kureishi was really only cannibalising certain aspects of his own life.

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