Nothing matters in Kureishi’s novel about adultery

Nothing matters in Kureishi’s novel about adultery

FICTION: The Nothing, By Hanif Kureishi, Faber & Faber, €20

The title of Hanif Kureishi’s new novella stems from a dirty joke that was made in Hamlet. “That’s a fair thought,” the Black Prince quips, “to lie between maids’ legs.” “What is, my lord?” asks Ophelia. “Nothing,” Hamlet replies. “Nothing,” therefore, means the female genitalia – a subject of obsessive interest to Waldo, Kureishi’s ageing and impotent narrator.

But “the nothing” is also, of course, the void that awaits us after death. Waldo...

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