Janet Shirley was always impressed by her husband. Even before he began using his special talent to change their lives beyond recognition. The thing is, Janet doesn't want their lives to change that much – she's quite happy, working at the supermarket, cooking for Howard three times a day, watching quiz shows in the evening.
But once Howard unleashes his photographic brain on the world, the once modest used-car salesman can't seem to stop. And what he sees as the logical conclusion isn't something Janet can agree to. She will not consent to Howard's grand gesture.
Written out of Burgess' disgust at western decadence and degradation, One Hand Clapping casts a jaded eye over our values, drawing a conclusion that still resonates fifty years on.