The Last Word

A Novel

The Last Word

“Hanif Kureishi’s best novel since The Buddha of Suburbia” (The Independent, UK): a mischievous, wickedly funny, and intellectually deft story about a young biographer and the famous and reclusive novelist who is his subject.

Mamoon Azam 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 are nonexistent, and the expensive habits of his flamboyant second wife are bleeding him dry. In a final attempt to revitalize his career, Mamoon’s publisher commissions Harry, an ambitious young writer, to produce a provocative biography to bring Mamoon back into the public eye.

Harry sets off for Mamoon’s estate, where he finds not the literary hero he had imagined, but a vain, bigoted, cynical, and cruelly manipulative genius, who quickly turns the tables on his ambitious young biographer. Harry must insinuate, seduce, and finesse the truth out of the extravagant and damaged characters in Mamoon’s surreal sphere as the young writer and the old master battle for the last word in the story of Mamoon’s life. Acute and brilliantly entertaining, The Last Word is a tale of youthful exuberance and the misery of outgrowing it, as hilarious as it is moving. It is Kureishi’s wisest work to date.
  • Scribner | 
  • 304 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781476779201 | 
  • March 2015
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Hanif Kureishi on 'The Last Word'

Author Hanif Kureishi discusses his writing process and his new novel, 'The Last Word'.

Read an Excerpt

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About the Author

Hanif Kureishi
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Hanif Kureishi

Hanif Kureishi won the prestigious Whitbread Prize for The Buddha of Suburbia and was twice nominated for Oscars for best original screenplay (My Beautiful Laundrette and Venus, which starred Peter O’Toole). In 2010 Kureishi received the prestigious PEN/Pinter Prize. He lives in London.