Some writers should be avoided like a swarm of mosquitos. I am thinking of the likes of Martin Amis/Will Self/Salman Rushdie etc. I would probably have put Howard Jacobson in that category until I read my first book of his – ZOO TIME – recently. Brilliantly funny, waspish, and with prose so sharp you could cut yourself. Ostensibly it is about writer Guy Ableman and his obsession with his mother-in-law, but really it’s about writers and their obsession with the writing profession. No one reads any more according to Guy; his publsher, fearing the same, has committed suicide, his agent is in hiding, and his wife, Vanessa, is writing her own novel, which together with his unruly passion for his mother-in-law combine to make this the best novel I have read in years. 5*****

We are murdering time
Now is no good
Maybe what happens next will be better
Life is someplace else
Perhaps on our poncey phones;
It’s like eating in a restaurant
And discussing the menu
From somewhere else;
Everyone is on edge
Like we are slipping a cog
Or like musical chairs
When the music stops
You change your life
Doesn’t matter if you get it wrong
It’ll be shit whatever you choose

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