That INTIMACY observes the tragic unities of time and place is indicative of its ambition. Kureishi uses the end of a relationship not only to discuss the tension between sexual and domestic intimacy, but also to examine the intimacy shared by narrator and reader: ironically we are able to do for the taciturn Jay what no one can do for him in life - listen while "the inner storm of [his] intolerable thoughts blows itself out". Indeed, the novel's chief success is to force on us the complicity this intimacy brings with it. This is an exceptionally well written book. The restraint and elegance of Jay's voice is punctured only by his vulgar treatment of sex, which itself suggests that lust is his fatal flaw. The problem with INTIMACY, however, is that the protagonist is simply too cruel, too cowardly, and too vain for us to sympathize with his vacillation over whether or not he should abandon his children and their mother. This maybe because Kureishi intends us to focus on the internal 'tragedy' of Jay's existential isolation; but if this is the case, Jay's contemptible efforts to yoke his unhappiness to his generation's disillusionment ("If Marx had been our begetter...Freud was our new father, as we turned inwards") and to elevate his lust to the level of a philosophical tenet loom to large. The same is true of the supporting cast, given that it never develops beyond a projection of Jay's psyche. His lover Nina is a gently pornographic fantasy, his cohabitee Susan an emblem of uxorial "competence"; similarly, his freinds Asif and Victor merely exemplify his crudely polarized view of life as a choice between suburban incarceration and hedonistic abandon ("My kingdom for a come"). Because of this INTIMACY leaves you feeling numbed, rather than moved.