Angelica's Grotto is a pornographic website into which seventy-two-year-old art historian Harold Klein wanders one evening. Klein, a walking catalogue of infirmities, known to medical consultants as 'he who declines to hop the twig', may not be up to much physically but there's a lot of sex going on in his head. 'You're a tiger from the neck up, Professor,' says Melissa, the brains behind the website, when at last Klein faces the object of his desire. Harold first visits Angelica's Grotto after losing his 'inner voice', that censoring mechanism that keeps us from blurting out the first thing that pops into our heads and finding ourselves in Casualty as a result of it. Harold consults a therapist about this new lack of mental privacy and also has one-to-one onscreen dialogue in the Grotto. 'If I had an inner voice I wouldn't be telling you all this,' he explains to the as-yet-unmet Melissa. But when the flesh-and-blood Melissa and her large and well-hung colleague Leslie enter his life he finds it's good to keep the angina medicine at the ready.
Harold Klein's odyssey takes him not only through erogenous zones but into various corners of the London art world, down the underground and up the buses.
Russell Hoban is the author of many extraordinary novels including THE LION OF BOAZ-JACHIN AND JACHIN-BOAZ, TURTLE DIARY, RIDDLEY WALKER, MR RINYO-CLACTON'S OFFER. He has also written some classic books for children including THE MOUSE AND HIS CHILD and THE FRANCES books. He lives in London.