We are unerring in our choice of lovers, particularly when we require the wrong person. There is an instinct, magnet or aerial which seeks the unsuitable. The wrong person is, of course, right for something - to punish, bully, or humiliate us, let us down, leave us for dead, or, worst of all, give us the impression that they are not inappropriate, but almost right, thus hanging us in love's limbo. Not just anyone can do this. In this astonishing collection of new stories, Hanif Kureishi confirms his reputation as Britain's foremost chronicler of the loveless, the lost and the dispossessed. The characters in Midnight All Day are familiar to all of us: frustrated and intoxicated, melancholic and sensitive, yet capable of great cruelty, and, if necessary, willing to break the constraints of an old life to make way for the new.
Sitting there he thought that he had never before realized that life could be so painful. He understood that no amount of drink, drugs or meditation could make things better for good.
The stories in Midnight All Day show a contemporary master at the top of his form, acclaimed for his depiction of a lost generation of men: those shaped by the sixties, disoriented by the eighties and bereft of a personal and political map in the nineties (Independent on Sunday). It had been a murderous century, yet here, in this most comfortable corner of the earth, by some fluke, most of them had been spared. For that he sang, wondering, all the same, why they were so joyless.