The Last Word, Paperback Book
2 out of 5 (1 rating)


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

Harry, a young writer, is commissioned to write a biography to revitalise Mamoon's career.

He greatly admires Mamoon's work and wants to uncover the truth of the artist's life, but Harry's publisher seeks a more salacious tale of sex and scandal to generate headlines.

Meanwhile, Mamoon himself is mining a different truth altogether - but which one of them will have the last word?


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This might so easily have been a really good book. Aspiring writer Harry Johnson is taken by his old friend Rob Deveraux, a thrusting literary agent with severe substance dependencies, to meet one of his heroes, ageing Indian-born writer Mamoon Azam. Deveraux has brokered a deal in which Harry will write a biography of Mamoon in the hope that it will help to revive his flagging career.This is all very well, and the novel starts off quite humorously. It subsides fairly quickly, however, into barely disguised misogyny. There are a series of well-developed literary allusions, though the principal purpose of these seemed to be to show us how clever Kureishi is, though I don't suppose that has ever been in question. It was reminiscent of Kingsley Amis's rather tortured late work, 'The Biographer's Moustache' (and I didn't like that much, either).In the end I simply found it all rather unnecessarily squalid. That's another nine quid i won't get back and, even worse, another inch of precious shelf space wasted!

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