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The Finkler Question (unabridged audiobook) [Audiobook, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

Howard Jacobson , narrated by Steven Crossley
2.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (301 customer reviews)
RRP: £25.52
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Book Description

1 Sep 2010
Winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2010 and the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize. Julian Treslove and Sam Finkler 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. Now all three are recently widowed, in their own way, and spend sweetly painful evenings together reminiscing. Until an unexpected violent attack brings everything they thought they knew into question. The Finkler Question is a scorching story of friendship and loss and of the wisdom and humanity of maturity. Funny, furious, unflinching, this extraordinary novel shows one of our finest writers at his brilliant best. This recording is unabridged. Typically abridged audiobooks are not more than 60% of the author's work and as low as 30% with characters and plotlines removed.

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Product details

  • Audio CD: 11 pages
  • Publisher: Whole Story Audio Books; Unabridged Audiobook, 11 CDs edition (1 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1407462776
  • ISBN-13: 978-1407462776
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 13.4 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (301 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 913,591 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

An award-winning writer and broadcaster, Howard Jacobson was born in Manchester, brought up in Prestwich and was educated at Stand Grammar School in Whitefield, and Downing College, Cambridge, where he studied under F. R. Leavis. He lectured for three years at the University of Sydney before returning to teach at Selwyn College, Cambridge. His novels include The Mighty Walzer (winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize), Kalooki Nights (longlisted for the Man Booker Prize), the highly acclaimed The Act of Love and, most recently, the Man Booker Prize 2010-winning The Finkler Question. Howard Jacobson lives in London.

Product Description


The Finkler Question is a marvellous book: very funny, of course, but also very clever, very sad and very subtle. It is all that it seems to be and much more than it seems to be. A completely worthy winner of this great prize. --Andrew Motion, chair of the Man Booker judges

The Finkler Question is wonderful. A blistering portrayal of a funny man who at last confronts the darkness of the world --Beryl Bainbridge

A real giant. A great, great writer --Jonathan Safran Foer

Book Description

WINNER OF THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
This is a book about Anti-Semitism, especially London Jewish self-loathing Anti-Semistism.

If you are someone who could not possibly find this an interesting subject, I wouldn't even bother starting it.
As a Jewish Londoner, I do find the subject very interesting indeed...but maybe in a newspaper article. In a novel there has to be, surely, something more, like a decent story or touching, realistic characters.

I did really laugh at the beginning of the book; proper laugh-out-loud laughing. But I'm not sure if you are not Jewish and have had little contact with Jews, you'd see the joke. Lots of Yiddish expressions and in-jokes, which mean a lot to me as a middle-aged North london Jew, but to the gentile world? I'm not being condescending, but have you ever given thought to the difference between a "shlepper" and a "nebbishe"? Jacobson says a "shlepper" knows he's a "shlepper", but a "nebbishe" is unaware that he's a "nebbishe". To me, that is a very observant comment by the author and I have given it much thought since reading it. I think he's right. What do you think? Do you have any idea what he's talking about? Do you care?

Reading the first 50 pages or so I thought I was going to love this book and was looking forward to writng a positive review, but suddenly, and I don't know exactly when, I felt...ENOUGH ALREADY!
It's like going to a friend's 50th birthday party, having a great time dancing to all the old 70s disco classics and then, almost without warning, a wave of fatigue sweeps over you and you want to go home...right now!

Unfortunately, despite its very promising beginning, this novel rapidly turns into a very tiresome rant, but I'm not sure about what...and I couldn't wait to finish it. I can't even tell you what happened in the end.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars How did this win MAN Booker? 28 Aug 2014
To start with the positives; this is an interesting account of what (I think) it means to be a liberal North London Jew and the descriptions of family and religious life are colourful. By the end I had sort of got used to Treslove and Finkler and could understand their characters and warm to them.
However, there are major major problems with the plot and premise. Would a man in his forties really get mugged by a woman who then says 'you Jew' even though he isn't Jewish? Would Treslove really then decide he was really Jewish and randomly adopt their customs and way of life? Would he really hang out with a 90 year old?
There is no plot really - just a few developments following this unlikely series of initial events. I don't think it's enough to write well and have lots of witty things to say about Jewish culture. To win a major literary prize there has to be more substance in terms of plot - the characters are believable but don't really develop in any way - drifter Treslove still drifts and Smart arse Finkler is still acting the same way too.
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213 of 231 people found the following review helpful
By Ripple TOP 100 REVIEWER
Julian Treslove is a middle aged former BBC radio producer now working as a professional look alike but quite who he looks like varies. Although never married, he has fathered two sons, neither of whom he sees regularly. Dismissed from the BBC for being too morbid on his late night Radio 3 programme, he is given to depressing levels of self-analysis in his small flat that's not quite in Hampstead. What Treslove lacks is a sense of belonging and this, he notes his Jewish friends have in spades, particularly his old school friend and rival, the best-selling philosopher and TV personality, Sam Finkler. Treslove, by contrast, always feels on the outside of life.

When the book starts Treslove is again excluded as Finkler and their mutual friend and former teacher, Libor Sevcik, an elderly Jewish Czech, have both been widowed. Although the two Jewish friends have differing political views on Zionism, Treslove sees them united in their Jewishness and their sense of mutual loss. So much does Treslove want to be like his friend Finkler, a term he uses to describe all Jewish people, and for a range of other amusing reasons, when he is attacked on the way home from Libor's flat one night, he is convinced that it is an anti-Semitic attack and that Treslove is, in fact, a Finkler himself and pursues the task of answering `The Finkler Question': what does it mean to be Jewish in the 21st century?

It's not hard to see why this book has caught the attention of this year's Man Booker judges who have short-listed it for the prize. It touches on a number of compelling subjects including middle age insecurity, male competition and friendship, death, infidelity, multiculturalism and of course religious faith and the implications of this on nation states.
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113 of 126 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Finkler Question 25 Sep 2010
By Amanda Jenkinson TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Three elderly men, lifelong friends, meet to look back on their success and failures, their loves and losses. Two of them are Jews, the third, Julian Treslove isn't, but would like to be. What follows is an exploration of Jewishness and identity and Treslove's attempt to make sense of his life.
This book has received overwhelmingly positive reviews, and has been long-listed for the Booker. Superlatives abound. "Our greatest living writer" and other such. But I remain unconvinced. Although I accept that this is a serious and original work, the self-absorbed Treslove with his implausible identity crisis, did not engage me, and the much vaunted comedy of the book passed me by. An occasional wry smile was all I could muster. Jacobson can indeed write, and he writes well, but has some irritating stylistic quirks, such as over-use of rhetorical questions and verb less sentences that begin to grate after a while.
It is often said that if Jacobson were American, he would be rated up there with Bellow and Roth. Quite possibly, for there are many similarities, not least the obsession with all things Jewish, the misogyny (women are always described in terms of their breasts) and the lack of empathy with children (are we supposed to find it amusing that Treslove muddles up his two sons?). Above all, the self-absorption and endless wordy philosophising.
Not one for me, this novel, and I remain puzzled by the fulsome praise bestowed on it.
However - and it's quite a big however - it would make a very good book group choice as there is much to discuss here. Issues of identity, male insecurity, belonging, love and loss, and perhaps most importantly, Jewishness and what it means to be a Jew along with the thorny problems of Zionism.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Leave it on the shelf...
I join the majority. I've read HJ books before and always thought them second rate but was given TFQ by a friend so I tried again. Grim. Read more
Published 6 hours ago by Vongolo
1.0 out of 5 stars Do not waste your time.
It became a painful read. How on earth did this book win an award? A tale of geriatics. One cannot but feel sorry for the characters in this book.
Published 1 month ago by JoAdores
1.0 out of 5 stars Finkler Schminkler
As I write these words Israel and Hamas are in mutually murderous mode again, bringing home just how important and relevant many of HJ's observations on Jewishness, Zionism and... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mike Collins
1.0 out of 5 stars Sorry, couln't read to the end
I am a reading addict. I take 8-10 books on holiday and have never not finished the whole lot while I am away. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern classic
The amount of bad reviews on this page and the incredible success that this book enjoys shows again that reading is a very personal experience. Read more
Published 4 months ago by mary
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for me
The only positive thing I can contribute to the review is that the book group I belong to all agreed for the first time when reviewing this book. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Thomas' Grandma
2.0 out of 5 stars Not my sense of humour
I read it through, but it was not for me. Probably I missed much of the subtle undertones. Maybe one requires a Jewish connection.
Published 6 months ago by Mr. Nv Brown
2.0 out of 5 stars A tough question
A well written book,easy to read but difficult to understand, with a cast of characters who were not easy to like.
Published 7 months ago by Richard A. Brocklebank
3.0 out of 5 stars it goes on and on and on
I really enjoyed the start of this book. Howard Jacobson writes well and is very witty. However, it goes on and on and on about being Jewish - this was fine in the beginning, but... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Finkler = Jew
A lot of political agenda which gets old very quickly. Do not understand how this got a Booker along with such elegant books as the sense of an ending and bring up the bodies...
Published 7 months ago by Natalia
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