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The Swag Man (Kindle Single) [Kindle Edition]

Howard Jacobson
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A hilarious and moving true story by Man Booker Prize-winning novelist Howard Jacobson about the greatest “swag man” in the history of Manchester. A charming, brazen salesman of genius, Frankie Cohen rises from selling cheap gewgaws, known as swag, for Jacobson's father in the rough market streets of the Northern English city, to buying and selling some of the world's greatest artworks. Jacobson's tale of a poor Jewish kid who becomes a friend of Dukes and Duchesses is the story of a man who succeeds not by changing his accent or clothes, but by being himself regardless of where he is or who he is with—which Jacobson comes to understand is how a truly sophisticated man behaves. An unusually poignant memoir of Jewish life in Manchester, The Swag Man is also a funny, fantastical meditation on how we define ourselves, how our roots do and don't define us, and the pleasures and perils of assimilation in a modern multi-ethnic society.

Howard Jacobson is a novelist and critic. He is the author of, most recently, “Zoo Time,” and “The Finkler Question,” which won the 2010 Man Booker Prize. He lives in London.

Tablet Magazine is a National Magazine Award-winning online publication covering Jewish life. Founded in 2009, it has become, in the words of New York Magazine, “a must-read for young politically and culturally engaged Jews”—one committed to political analysis and sophisticated cultural inquiry as well as fun. It can be found at

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 305 KB
  • Print Length: 31 pages
  • Publisher: Tablet Magazine; 1 edition (25 Jun. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #147,828 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Swag Man 1 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
This kindle short is a memoir which takes us from market stalls in Northern England to Chatsworth. Howard Jacobson begins with memories of his father - a market stall holder who sold 'swag'; the only definition of which appears to be that it is both useless and badly made. Jacobson Senior was part sales patter and part entertainer, involved with shady deals and shoddy goods. Unwillingly, his son was often involved in helping with his sales pitch, although there were more willing (and possibly more useful) volunteers. Many years later, Howard meets up with one of those young men, who had worked alongside his father and became a well known and respected art collector. This is a short read, but full of memorable characters, especially the authors father and the irrepressible Frankie Cohen.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Absolutely loved it.Laughed all the way thru.Its hilarious
Howard is so perceptive and such a gifted writer
Recommended it to everyone that came from that era + all those that didn't .
Wish it was produced in hardback as a short story,I would buy it by the hundreds and gift it to everyone I met,and sell it in The Clothes Shop!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular! 13 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I loved every minute of it, if there was a Booker Prize for short stories this would win hands down.Even though am in it .Howard's
eye for observation is to perfection.

Amazon should deliver this to every home in Manchester(Prestwich,Whitefield and Hale) and give Howard the proceeds.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as described in the blurb 10 Aug. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very short story. Focused only briefly the life of the author's father as a 'swag man' then went off in another direction, describing one of the swag man's assistants and his life as an art collector.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I remember 6 Aug. 2013
By Lisa B
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This short book took me back to my childhood. Although I didn't visit Manchester, it was reminiscent of my many visits to London's Petticoat Lane and brought back great memories even though I didn't understand what was happening all of the time, everything falls into place now. A little gem.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Started well then tailed off 13 Aug. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this book thinking it might be really funny, and offer a different insight into the Manchester Jewish community. Sadly it wasn't and didn't. It got off to a good enough start, but about half way through (and we're talking a book of less than 100 pages) it seemed to lose any thread as if the author had either lost interest or didn't really know where to go from there.
I finished it (not hard given it's length), but was disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very brief, I just didn't get it. 27 Oct. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Just not my "cup of tea", wouldn't recommend it. i just didn't get it. Wouldn't read this author again. hh
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for me 19 Feb. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Ok but rather boring and not very interesting. You won't miss anything by not reading it - not worth buying
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars LOve you Howaed
Howard is a Manchester man so being a Mancunian myself I am prejudiced in his favour. He never fails to be both entertaining and challenging.
Published 18 days ago by Mrs. M. E. Ainsworth
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Just the job
Published 13 months ago by christine
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 14 months ago by Norman Hunter
5.0 out of 5 stars enjoyed this gentle read of an interesting time.
A nice read of a time long forgotten by some but is easily conjured up in mind by the Author.
Published 17 months ago by Simon A
4.0 out of 5 stars The swag man
I liked the history and the pace of the storyline,but it could have had at least two more chapters.
to round the lives of the main characters.
Published 19 months ago by bruce easson
5.0 out of 5 stars Short, Crisp and amusing
Howard Jacobson's book 'The Swag Man' is a very short read. But every word is carefully thought out and I found the book touching in parts and carefully constructed.
Published 22 months ago by T. W. H. Greenwood
5.0 out of 5 stars It's one of those short stories
Being both a Mancunian of origin and a man who was once a boy working with my father and late grandfather on the Oldham/Bolton markets this book brought back fun filled mindful... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Jonathan Posner
5.0 out of 5 stars the long and the short of it.
I love everything that Howard Jacobson writes so my comments are undoubtedly rosy-tinged. I came from the exact same background as Mr Jacobson in Cheetham Hill and Prestwich,... Read more
Published 23 months ago by jack saltman
3.0 out of 5 stars What I thought
Interesting, since I once was living in the North Manchester area and recognised some of what I read. However, no lasting impression was made on me, I'm afraid.
Published 23 months ago by Mr. Peter J. Cave
5.0 out of 5 stars great storytelling
I enjoy reading most of Howards books but found this short story very good indeed........but how much of it was fact or fiction?
Harry M.Gamp
Published 24 months ago by harry m gamp
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