The Last Word by Hanif Kureishi - review by D J Taylor

D J Taylor

When Harry Met Mamoon

The Last Word


Faber & Faber 286pp £18.99

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.

Set against this, it is a pleasure – a relative pleasure, anyway – to report that his latest outing represents a decisive change of tack, that none of its characters, on first inspection, seems to have anything to do with Kureishi himself, and that the subject matter, at any rate

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