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The Last Word - Hanif Kureishi

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The new novel from Hanif Kureishi: an outrageous, clever and very funny story of sex, lies, art and what defines a life.

Mamoon is an eminent Indian-born writer who has made a career in England - but now, in his early 70s, his reputation is fading, sales have dried up, and his new wife has expensive taste.

Harry, a young writer, is commissioned to write a biography to revitalise both Mamoon's career and his bank balance. Harry greatly admires Mamoon's work and wants to uncover the truth of the artist's life. Harry's publisher seeks a more naked truth, a salacious tale of sex and scandal that will generate headlines. Meanwhile Mamoon himself is mining a different vein of truth altogether.

Harry and Mamoon find themselves in a battle of wills, but which of them will have the last word?

The ensuing struggle for dominance raises issues of love and desire, loyalty and betrayal, and the frailties of age versus the recklessness of youth.

Hanif Kureishi has created a tale brimming with youthful exuberance, as hilarious as it is touching, where words have the power to forge a world.

About the Author

Hanif Kureishi grew up in Kent and studied philosophy at King's College London. His novels include The Buddha of Suburbia, which won the Whitbread Prize for Best First Novel, The Black Album, Intimacy and Something to Tell You. His screenplays include My Beautiful Laundrette, which received an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay, Sammy and Rosie Get Laid and The Mother. He has also published several collections of short stories. He has been awarded the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and been translated into thirty six languages.

Read Caroline Baum's Review

I was looking forward to this as a new novel by Kureishi is a literary event. Well I am sorry to say it doesn’t work for me although the basic premise is a good one: Harry, a young writer is commissioned to write a biography to boost the career and profile of Mamoon, an eminent Indian born writer whose reputation is fading with age. Harry’s publisher wants a salacious story full of headline generating scandal but Mamoon has something different in mind altogether.

It’s obviously a satirical fable, but it lacks the necessary sharpness and bite. The dialogue feels stilted and fake. Of course it’s tempting to see Mamoon as a cross between Rushdie and Naipaul but that’s not enough to save this piece of literary mischief from feeling slight, trite and trivial. Sorry, but I have to be honest (and save you the time I wasted).

ISBN: 9780571277537
ISBN-10: 0571277535
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 352
Published: 29th January 2014
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.3  x 2.2
Weight (kg): 0.4
Edition Number: 1