Jennifer's Reviews > The Finkler Question

The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson
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's review
May 30, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: 2011-books, owned
Read from May 30 to June 03, 2011 — I own a copy , read count: 1

Hmm...this is a tricky one to rate with a solid number as the story fluctuated between a 2-star and 5-star rating fairly regularly. For me, this novel read more as a work of creative nonfiction and it has given me pause to think about the essence and structure of a novel. Certainly Jacobson's style is unique but he has a way with prose that is both apparently straight-forward yet layered in its complexity - a tricky skill to master, I am guessing.

When this book won Jacobson the Man Booker Prize last year, there was a bit of a brouhaha created. The novel has been called "unapologetically comic" and there is definitely some of that wicked British humour within. I have read a few different reviews this morning, and this excerpt from the New Statesman really sums up my amazement with the novel, but also my hesitations about knowing what to do with reviewing what I have read: "Jacobson has occasionally been treated as a one-subject writer, but his accomplishment has been to discover the varied sources of int­erest in the lives of English Jews. The Finkler Question is characterised by his structuring skill and unsimplifying intelligence - this time picking through the connections and differences, hardly unremarked but given fresh treatment here, between vicariousness and parasitism, and between Jewishness, Judaism and Zionism. Even in a strained performance, Jacobson succeeds in generating smart conceits, the best of these - involving a Jew who goes to bed with a Holocaust denier - saved until the end.

The novel has caused me to go on a search for some nonfiction to complement this read.


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05/30/2011 page 31
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