Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2010
"He should have seen it coming. His life had been one mishap after another. So he should have been prepared for this one…"
Julian Treslove, a professionally unspectacular former BBC radio producer, and Sam Finkler, a popular Jewish philosopher, writer and television personality, are old school friends. Despite a prickly relationship and very different lives, they've never quite lost touch with each other—or with their former teacher, Libor Sevcik, a Czech always more concerned with the wider world than with exam results.
Now, both Libor and Finkler are recently widowed, and with Treslove, his chequered and unsuccessful record with women rendering him an honorary third widower, they dine at Libor's grand, central London apartment.
It's a sweetly painful evening of reminiscence in which all three remove themselves to a time before they had loved and lost; a time before they had fathered children, before the devastation of separations, before they had prized anything greatly enough to fear the loss of it. Better, perhaps, to go through life without knowing happiness at all because that way you have less to mourn? Treslove finds he has tears enough for the unbearable sadness of both his friends' losses.
And it's that very evening, at exactly 11:30 pm, as Treslove, walking home, hesitates a moment outside the window of the oldest violin dealer in the country, that he is attacked. And after this, his whole sense of who and what he is will slowly and ineluctably change.
The Finkler Question is a scorching story of friendship and loss, exclusion and belonging, and of the wisdom and humanity of maturity. Funny, furious, unflinching, this extraordinary novel shows one of our finest writers at his brilliant best.
About the Author
An award-winning writer and broadcaster, Howard Jacobson was born in Manchester, brought up in Prestwich and was educated at Stand Grammar School in Whitefield, and Downing College, Cambridge, where he studied under F. R. Leavis. He lectured for three years at the University of Sydney before returning to teach at Selwyn College, Cambridge. His novels include The Mighty Walzer (winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize), Kalooki Nights (longlisted for the Man Booker Prize) and the highly acclaimed The Act of Love.
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Comments about The Finkler Question:
Only a Jewish author could imagine the characters and situations of this novel - and get away with it. Woody Alan would make a good Treslove, if he were 20 years younger. The humour, of which there's lots, gets blacker and the plot more sombre chapter by chapter but the essential humanity never disappears. There's some biting satire on wannabe Jews, Zionists and anti-Zionists, and a sometimes overwhelming sense of Angst. Read it to see which side or facet of Jewishness you land on.
Winner of the 2010 Man Booker Prize "Like all of [Jacobson's] work, "The Finkler Question" has a kind of energy that you have to look at through your fingers, like an eclipse. As the brightness of his brilliance is hard to look at, so is the darkness of his humor. I don't know a funnier writer alive."--Jonathan Safran Foer "Like Phillip Roth, to whom he is fairly compared, Howard Jacobson is a magnificent prose stylist who is often at his most serious when he is being uproariously funny. This novel, which won the Man Booker Prize this year, is both a send-up of some very silly people, and an examination of Jewish identity in relation to rising tides of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. I don't think you have to be Jewish to find it funny, touching, and troubling."--Jacob Weisberg, "Slate, " "Best Books of 2010" "Mr. Jacobson doesn't just summon [Philip] Roth; he summons Roth at Roth's best. This prizewinning book is a riotous morass of jokes and worries about Jewish identity, though it i
Series: Man Booker Prize
Number Of Pages: 307
Published: 12th October 2010
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Dimensions (cm): 21.0 x 14.2 x 2.7
Weight (kg): 0.304