Howard Jacobson's latest comic novel looks for laughs a little too close to home. Guy Ableman is a novelist who likes to celebrate “our lower instincts” and whose work has been described by one reviewer as “a verbal sperm-fest”.
Despite being good at what he does and in possession of a beautiful wife (not to mention a desirable mother-in-law), he's down in the dumps about the parlous state of modern literature. Or to put it more accurately, the fact that nobody reads his books anymore. Performance anxiety lies at the heart of this priapic and penetrating rant.