The Wisdom of Crocodiles opens with Stephen Grlscz embarking on a love affair with a woman he meets. He does this clinically (though sincerely), keeping notes on their relationship and calculating the best way to make her love him. When he feels he has succeeded, he suddenly, shockingly, kills her, drinking her blood as he does so. But he is only slightly nourished, and suffers a gruesome version of food poisoning, for he can survive only on those who love him without reservation - and she must not have done so. But this isn't at all a book about vampires, Rather, it's a novel of huge scope and originality. Set in London, it covers, among other things, financial fraud, parachuting, modern economics, the hardest crossword clue ever, pornography, terrorism, aliens, artificial intelligence and the meaning of life. It's a novel that took thirteen years to write and is almost impossible to summarise, but is full of rounded, believable characters and is immensely readable, intelligent, suspenseful, witty and ultimately moving. The Wisdom of Crocodiles is a book that challenges readers to engage with the world around them.
It recognises the richness of the ordinary, the shock of the familiar and the complexity and reward of reality.
Paul Hoffman is a screenwriter. He used to be one of the senior censors at the British Board of Film Classification and was responsible for replacing the butter in Last Tango in Paris.
He is the author of The Wisdom of Crocodiles, available in Black Swan paperback.