The Mighty Walzer
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The Mighty Walzer

By (author) Howard Jacobson

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From the beginning Oliver Walzer is a natural - at ping-pong. Even with his improvised bat (the Collins Classic edition of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde) he can chop, flick, half-volley like a champion. At sex he is not so adept, but with tuition from Sheeny Waxman, fellow member of the Akiva Social Club Table Tennis Team and stalwart of the Kardomah coffee bar, his game improves. Winner of the 2010 Man Booker Prize.

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  • Paperback | 400 pages
  • 128 x 198 x 26mm | 240g
  • 05 May 2011
  • VINTAGE
  • London
  • English
  • 0099274728
  • 9780099274728
  • 169,997

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Author Information

Howard Jacobson is the author of six novels and four works of non-fiction. His last novel, The Mighty Walzer, won the Everyman Wodehouse Award for comic writing.

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Review quote

"Jacobson is a great storyteller: phrases, anecdotes and atmosphere roll off the page with the ease and sublime, scary grace of drunken eels...he is unsurpassable" The Times "This mature novel has the sustained exuberance and passion of his youthful writing...an achingly funny book...an amazing acheivement... There are few novelists today who can imbue the trifles of life with such poetry" Independent "Marvellous. Jacobson has not just written the first great novel about ping-pong. He has written one of the greatest sporting novels ever...a towering work of authority" Sunday Telegraph "Jacobson's humour is unashamedly savage and his jokes as sharp as a switch-blade...comic vitriol worthy of Evelyn Waugh" Sunday Express

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Review text

Howard Jacobson's latest, and brazenly autobiographical book is a savagely funny, bittersweet homage to growing up Jewish in 1950s Manchester. The contradictory central character - Oliver Walzer, is, at the outset, a chronically shy but relentlessly filthy-minded teen, good for nothing except ping-pong at which he excels. A misogynistic mummy's (or rather, aunties') boy he struggles to get a grip in the macho world of his market trader father and the Kardomah - coffeehouse and mecca of sin for randy teenagers. He eventually escapes to Cambridge and further humiliations only to return years later finally proving that home really is where the heart is no matter how much you think you hate it. (Kirkus UK)

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