Yet Wani is the rawest embodiment of Thatcherism in the novel: brutally rich, peerlessly selfish, with a rapacious, insatiable appetite—for cocaine, sex, pornography, power, money. Wani can’t last: by the end of the book, he is dying of AIDS. Not that there is a simple moral to be drawn from this: AIDS strikes indiscriminately, in the novel as in life.
He writes about the mind’s ability to notice and speculate, desire and understand, with an old-fashioned novelist’s ease. He writes wonderfully about changes in mood, a new arrival in a room, the aura around an object, the power of weather.