As with all of Hanif Kureishi‘s work you read his finely crafted story and when the story is finished you think wow! what happened there. This novella is no different and with his signature black comedy you are taken on a finely nuanced exploration of love, lust, helplessness and deception in a south London suburb. Waldo, a notable filmmaker, is confined by old age and ill health to his London flat. Even the villainous Eddie who is moving in on Waldo’s wife Zee is given a three dimensional character that leaves you sympathising with him.
Waldo’s looming death, which has been looming for some years now, shows no signs of being within reach. But Waldo proves that the mind can be stronger than the body. His body may be failing him but his volition has not; he has something to finish before he dies. Zee may appear as a subordinate wife but she is far from it and that is exactly what Waldo loves about her the most. They have enjoyed a good relationship and as there is no correct way to react to terminal illness we watch with astonishment, commiseration and laughter at their predicament.