The Nothing

The Nothing by Hanif Kureishi

The Nothing is Hanif Kureishi’s new novella, a characteristic piece of stream of consciousness fiction about an ill old filmmaker, Waldo, his younger wife, Zee, and the younger man and almost friend Eddie who he believes Zee is having an affair with. Written in Kureishi’s distinctive style, it is a bitesize tale of old age and helplessness combined with lust and revenge.

Waldo is a classic bitter Kureishi character with a left wing past, blunt and sex obsessed, certain that he is being taken advantage of. Through the stream of consciousness style and supplemented by Waldo’s attempts to record Zee and Eddie’s conversations, the novella is an exercise in being trapped in your own head. 

Its narrative focuses on Waldo’s attempts to get revenge on Eddie despite being confined to his flat and much of the material is very darkly comic, not necessarily to everybody’s taste. However, The Nothing feels like a microcosm of Kureishi’s work and will no doubt delight his fans.