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The Finkler Question

The Finkler Question

Paperback Man Booker Prize

By (author) Howard Jacobson

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  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • Format: Paperback | 307 pages
  • Dimensions: 140mm x 208mm x 25mm | 272g
  • Publication date: 12 October 2010
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 1608196119
  • ISBN 13: 9781608196111
  • Sales rank: 4,652

Product description

Winner of the 2010 Man Booker PrizeJulian 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 lost touch with each other, or with their former teacher, Libor Sevcik. Dining together one night at Sevcik's apartment--the two Jewish widowers and the unmarried Gentile, Treslove--the men share a sweetly painful evening, reminiscing on a time before they had loved and lost, before they had prized anything greatly enough to fear the loss of it. But as Treslove makes his way home, he is attacked and mugged outside a violin dealer's window. Treslove is convinced the crime was a misdirected act of anti-Semitism, and in its aftermath, his whole sense of self will ineluctably change. """The Finkler Question "is a funny, furious, unflinching novel of friendship and loss, exclusion and belonging, and the wisdom and humanity of maturity.

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Author information

Howard Jacobson was born in Manchester, England, and educated at Cambridge. His many novels include "The Mighty Walzer "(winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize), "Who's Sorry Now? "and "Kalooki Nights "(both longlisted for the Man Booker Prize), and, most recently, "The Act of Love." Jacobson is also a respected critic and broadcaster, and writes a weekly column for the "Independent." He lives in London.

Review quote

“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 is by no means too myopic to be enjoyed by the wider world. It helps that Mr. Jacobson’s comic sensibility suggests Woody Allen’s, that his powers of cultural observation are so keen, and that influences as surprising as Lewis Carroll shape this book… Even in its darkest moments "The Finkler Question" offers many examples of… the most pernicious and authentic strain of Jewish humor: the kind that’s so real it isn’t funny at all.”—"New York Times"“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 Saf

Flap copy

'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 Sevick, 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.