The novel, set in a dystopia of the future, is a love story between loner artists, Ailinn and Kevern, and is a dark turn for a writer who has made his name by making others laugh. But behind every joke has not the impetus for its telling been borne of something more desperate and tragic?
Such is the tedium served up these days, making stark the realisation that the bile and satire of 30 years ago has vanished. Watching such inchoate comedy (I'm not sure it's even stand-up) is like having your leg humped by a glove puppet: it's attention grabbing but without the necessary aggression which is key to the best comedy.
Howard Jacobson on his Disdain for Literary Critics, How he let down his Dad, and his Love for Prostitutes with TB: INTERVIEW
Howard Jacobson hates himself for not being a worse man than he is. The once-proclaimed 'English Philip Roth', Booker Prize winner and literary dirty dog - his new novel Zoo Time, revels in its shoe fetishes and lusty ménage a trois fantasies - he still feels he hasn't sunk to the depths he looked excitedly into as a boy.
It's mid November and the writer David Lines, 43, author of The Modfather: My Life with Paul Weller lights a reflective Marlboro. He's sunk in a Bar Italia chair, his head buried in the collars of his Burberry mack as he blows smoke at Ronnie Scott's.