JF’s alternative title, The Englishman, would have been more appropriate. It is in one way a novel primarily about Englishness through the eyes of a middle aged humanist egotistic screenwriter.

It scares me how deeply flawed it is as a novel. Such an important writer could have such poor judgement? Didn’t anyone warn JF? Couldn’t he seem himself? Its major flaw is its boring wry dialogue between characters who don’t seem to be able to express anything more than a kind of bemused English banter. Hundreds of pages of this!

It gets better at the end in Egypt when Daniel and Jane finally express something deeper. More should have been made of Anthony’s character; the situation is potentially very interesting.