Winkler is bored, angry, anxious and full of the misery of his age. But in a sick world, in a hot city, at the end of history, at the very rim of the abyss, it might just be that Winkler is the hero we deserve. Winkler, whose days are sweated out in office drudgery, sexual frustration and a loveless relationship with a foul-mouthed Irishwoman who looks like a broad bean. He deserves so much more than these dull people and this dirty life. In fact, he really ought to do something about it. But what do you do? A chance encounter with an elderly Polish Jew - whose life story is an old story, full of old horrors - fills Winkler's muddled head with a passion to act. One afternoon, walking home from work through an underpass, he witnesses a vicious assault on a blind girl and stops to help her. The next day, without any fuss, he pushes a fat woman under a train. Now, as if by magic, he finds himself released from suffocating spiritual servitude. Within days, the new Winkler is revelling in a world of mood-enhancing pills, energizing powders and mind-expanding herbs, kinky sex, all-night parties and wild, meaningless friendships.It's all he's ever wanted.
But it is brought to an abrupt end when he is humiliated at a village cricket match, suffers racial abuse, assaults a peer of the realm and is arrested for a terrible crime. "Winkler" is a comic account of one man's search for meaning, identity and a suitable response to the burden of history. Coren's examination of the horrors of urban life and the lies we tell to survive is wild, dark, messy, frightening and brave.
Giles Coren writes opinion columns and restaurant reviews for The Times and was named Food and Drink Writer of the Year at the 2005 British Press Awards. Under the pseudonym of 'Professor Gideon Garter' he writes 'The Intellectual's Guide to Fashion' in the Sunday Times and in 1997 he ghost-wrote Against The Odds, the best-selling autobiography of the vacuum cleaner tycoon, James Dyson. He has also been a columnist on the Independent on Sunday, Tatler, GQ, the Mail on Sunday and Match of the Day magazine. Winkler is his first novel.