Milan/zzz's Reviews > The Finkler Question

The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson
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's review
Nov 14, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: awarded, nongenre
Read from November 14, 2010 to January 10, 2011

I so didn't expect something like this from Booker winner. I love Booker winners a lot, usually they are one of the best reads that year (with few dreadful exceptions) and this one was indeed such a breath of fresh air. It's so incredibly funny but also very intelligent prose; I was laughing out loud so many times (and so many times I laughed no once while reading other Bookers). I didn't have any prior knowledge about the novel before start reading it so this amount of humour caught me completely unprepared. And Mr. Jacobson doesn't waste his time, he shoots straight from the title ;)

The idea (identity crisis among other things) is a bit crazy. The main character, Julian Treslove obviously lost his marbles (if he ever had them that is) but even so awakes sympathy in reader. In spite the vast spectrum of his flaws, his craziness, insecuresness, obsessions, paranoia, magnetism towards suffering and misery (told you he's not quite normal), everything that would perfectly qualify him as an utterly unlikeable person. And not only for him, what saves the grace for almost everyone here (in spite their flaws) is that lovely, wry, subtle humour.

On the serious part I was VERY surprised about perspective from which Mr. Jacobson deals with the Jewishness, Israel and Israel-Palestinian/Arab conflict. To be honest I never thought a Jew might think this way which is nonsense of course. I mean why not? (I myself disagree with so many "standard" opinions about things in my own country) Though in spite that "quite different" and unexpected point of view there is a balance.

In the end I can understand why some were negatively surprised with this Booker. Someone said s/he waited entire book something to actually happen and, yes I understand but for me traveling was much bigger joy than some imaginary destination. If you laugh so hard you can't say you didn't like what made you laugh, right? Well I LOVED it!
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