Sunday, 18 September 2016

The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson

The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson
Published by Bloomsbury in August 2010. Won the Man Booker Prize.

Where to buy this book:
Buy the ebook from Amazon
Buy the paperback from Speedyhen
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository
Buy the paperback from Waterstones

How I got this book:
Borrowed from a friend

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

'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 very different lives, they've never quite lost touch with each other - or with their former teacher, Libor Sevcik. Both Libor and Finkler are recently widowed, and together with Treslove they share a sweetly painful evening revisiting a time before they had loved and lost. It is that very evening, when Treslove hesitates a moment as he walks home, that he is attacked - and his whole sense of who and what he is slowly and ineluctably changes.'

The Finkler Question is a great example of not believing everything you are told! Having been seduced by the many quotes on the covers and inside the first few pages, I was expecting a hysterically funny novel.
Oh dear.

Our hero, the improbably named Julian Treslove, is particularly unsympathetic. Humour is attempted from his attempts to create a Jewish identity for himself because he is apparently so jealous of 'their' sense of family and solidarity. Many discussions are had about what Jewish people do or don't do, think or don't think. These themes are overworked by about a third of the way through the novel, but carry on regardless. He has had a number of relationships, all with women whose names begin with J, and views all his partners in terms of tragic opera heroines. His sons, whom he 'hilariously' cannot tell apart, have operatic names and one of their mother's not knowing her Puccini from her Verdi is running joke.

The best I managed was a smattering of wry smiles. I guess I am not typical of Jacobsen's target market, but even so, I have no idea how The Finkler Question managed to be a Booker Prize winner. I've given it a two star 'meh' rating because I did plough through to the end rather than giving up. However I don't recommend anyone else to bother!

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Howard Jacobson / Humour / Books from England

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