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    The Finkler Question (Hardback) By (author) Howard Jacobson

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    Description'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.


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    fails to impress3

    Marianne Vincent The Finkler Question is the fourteenth book by Howard Jacobson, and winner of the 2010 Man Booker Prize. There are three main characters: Julian Treslove, who wants to be a Jew; Sam Finkler, a Jew who is ashamed of Jews; and Libor Sevcik, a Czech Jew who is grieving the loss of his wife. This unlikely trio have known one another for many years, and in the first part, each looks back on events in their lives. The second part concerns the events after Julian is mugged, he believes, for being a Jew, and introduces a new love interest for him, a Jewess names Hephzibah, someone he feels is his destiny. This novel is very slow-moving, there is very little in the way of plot and while some of the dialogue is clever, amusing or even thought-provoking, many of the characters are difficult to relate to. Perhaps to fully appreciate this book, one would need to be a Jewish intellectual, preferably a British one. Lots of Jewish angst, talk of foreskins, anti-Semitic violence and Holocaust denial. This Man Booker Prizewinner fails to impress. by Marianne Vincent

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