One night, when I am old, sick, right out of semen, and don't need things to get any worse, I hear the noises growing louder. I am sure they are making love in Zenab's bedroom which is next to mine.
Waldo, a fêted filmmaker, is confined by old age and ill health to his London apartment. Frail and frustrated, he is cared for by his lovely younger wife, Zee. But when he suspects that Zee is beginning an affair with Eddie, 'more than an acquaintance and less than a friend for over thirty years,' Waldo is pressed to action: determined to expose the couple, he sets himself first to prove his suspicions correct - and then to enact his revenge.
Written with characteristic black humour and with an acute eye for detail, Kureishi's eagerly awaited novella will have his readers dazzled once again by a brilliant mind at work.
The narrator of Whitbread Prize winner Kureishi's caustic latest (after The Last Word) is a dirty old man named Waldo. He's an angry, impotent, but highly successful filmmaker who suspects his younger wife, Zee, is having an affair with their friend Eddie, a flaneur who's been hanging around claiming to chronicle Waldo's glittering past. Waldo, still obsessed by sex but plagued with declining health, spends most of his days trapped in a wheelchair in his London apartment, cooking up schemes to catch Zee and Eddie, destroy the latter, and hold on to the former. He schemes with his actress friend Anita, but, after she helps him gather damning evidence about Eddie, he's pretty sure she's turned against him as well. There is not a decent soul or breath of fresh air within these pages; Kureishi rises fiendishly to the challenge of creating disagreeable characters, and true to form indulges in bald, unrelenting talk of sex acts and sex organs. There's a bit of tormented Hamlet in Waldo, but little philosophy or meat in this wicked little revenge tale.