Skip to main content

The Nothing - Hanif Kureishi

Have you ever thought about what goes on in the minds of the elderly who don’t have much to look forward to and all that truly makes a difference to their lives is the care and affection from those they hold dear? And what happens when they perceive to have not received this love, which is “rightfully” theirs, or even worse, they feel it is being given to someone else?
‘The Nothing’ by Hanif Kureishi has the power to affect you not only because of its theme i.e. an apparently helpless, suspicious old man grappling with illness and insecurity but also because of Kureishi’s characteristic writing style which is packed with dark humour, sarcasm and even erudite crudeness.
At the centre of the story is our protagonist Waldo, an elderly gentleman ridden with health issues –physical at first but then as the story progresses one wonders whether the mind is truly bereft of illness. Waldo, a filmmaker in his younger days, lives in the heart of London with his wife Zee, who is much younger than him. Waldo is deeply suspicious of Zee’s friendship with his old acquaintance Eddie and the plot of the novella deals with Waldo scheming and planning to ensure that Eddie stays away from his beloved wife.
In Waldo, you first see a dear old man coming to terms with his aging life and its many banalities. Then suddenly you see a sharp mind, which maybe led astray by an overactive imagination. You can empathise with Waldo’s loneliness and need for attention and at the same time be aggrieved by the extent to which he goes to prove his hypotheses right.
Character development in a novella can be quite tricky but Kureishi has mastered this technique. Waldo, Zee, Eddie are of course created with great detail but other characters like Anita also manage to leave a mark.
At certain moments in the story, I was taken aback by the deviousness of Waldo’s mind and had to re read parts of the story to truly understand his motives rather than blatantly judging him. Something similar could also be said about his wife, Zee. It is not always as it appears to be.
The book is certainly thought provoking and if you enjoy dark humour, this one’s a must read. The book has released on 2nd May 2017 and my sincere thanks to the author and publisher for the opportunity to review this novella.


Popular posts from this blog

Sab Moha Maya Hai - For The Sake of Valentine's Day!

14th February, Valentine’s Day. A day we are told we must “celebrate” as it epitomises this wonderful emotion that we as humans are capable of – Love.

“So, what are your plans for the day?” I was asked this question about a million times today and all I said was “Oh! I don’t know, I’m very unromantic!” to which I got responses like “But it’s the day of love” or “Come on! you need to celebrate love!” and so on. Having reflected upon this small talk that people often engage in to ease the awkward silences, I felt the need to put my thoughts to paper about the difference between romance and love as I find the two are often confused- one for the other. Romance is an expression of love, not love itself. Love is when you consistently strive for the wellbeing of another despite it causing you discomfort or pain. It is unconditional, not based on trivialities like tokens of affection which have sadly come to become measures of the extent of love. If you buy me a cake, you love me 30%, a design…

Serving Crazy With Curry - Amulya Malladi

Food! - That wonderful part of our existence that not only plays the essential role of providing daily sustenance but is also an archetype of culture and tradition. For me, food is a meaningful catalyst to creating unforgettable memories and associations. There are certain foods that I associate with certain events or significant people in my life. I also seek comfort in food be it a hot bowl of dal rice after a hard day at work or a sneaky piece of chocolate as a reward for achieving something (Yes, I do apply the principles of behavioural psychology to my own life!)
I first came across Amulya Malladi’s books in London’s local libraries. I was impressed that her books are well stocked which is an indication of their popularity. I read a couple of these books and soon found out the reason for this. Two words – Writing and Characters! Her writing is immensely engaging and her characters threaten to come alive page by page. This certainly applies to ‘Serving Crazy with Curry’.
Devi, our …

Flesh and Bone and Water - Luiza Sauma

I was delighted to receive this book for review from Penguin UK. Having grown up with memories of the Penguin logo in almost every bookshop I visited, it felt wonderful to be recognised as a reviewer by this world renowned publishing house. 'Flesh and Bone and Water' has nothing to do with South Asia. However, the commonality it shares with the region is that it is set in Brazil, a place that is often referred to as also being part of the 'third world' group of nations. "It's easy to leave a place when you're young. Coming back is harder. That's my advice : stay where you are." And so begins this beautiful novel which I would term as part coming of age and part an immigrant's journey from Brazil to Londres (London). More importantly why does the protagonist Andre venture back on a journey to his childhood home? The author Luiza Sauma has very poignantly narrated the story in first person so it feels like Andre is telling you his own story. You…