Morality tale suffers for not being fiction: review of A Theft: My Con Man by Hanif Kureishi

Hanif KureishiHanif Kureishi was cheated out of £120,000 of life savings in 2012 by a partner at an accountancy firm. The alleged investment fraud was announced in news reports last year to add to those stories of famous folk – the John Malkoviches and other Ponzi Scheme victims – duped out of what they have.

Celebrities have usually kept quiet afterwards, so Kureishi’s story of his swindling by the man who is here called Jeff Chandler is an unlikely –perhaps brave – subject for a book.

If it can be called a book, at 44 pages (and selling at its own daylight robbery price of £4.99), A Theft is a dissection of Kureishi’s thought processes that accompany the stages of a confidence trick in which he is promised an investment on his money that never comes; the initial seduction followed by denial, hate, perhaps even masochistic satisfaction. It is a confession of sorts that lays out the chronology of feelings, and Kureishi’s own sense of having taken part in his deception.

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