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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mighty by name...
When I first read this book, I was not bowled over by it, but as time went by a nagging thought in my mind became increasingly apparent – “You have to read this book again.” And thank goodness I did; The Mighty Walzer is a minor masterpiece.
I think the main reason I love this book so much is that Walzer is something of an anti-hero, but sympathetic...
Published on 21 May 2002 by g_bu

versus
8 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Hard bats etc
A comic English novel and table-tennis, two of my Favourite Things. How could this not be a good read? Well, possibly because Jacobson still doesn't seem to have got over reading Philip Roth from around 1970, but reworks Roth's old formula-but-two: the faux-autobiographical style, the oh-so-naughty jokes, the displaced narrator alienated by life (and here, even by the new...
Published on 6 Aug. 2007 by Paul Callick


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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mighty by name..., 21 May 2002
This review is from: The Mighty Walzer (Paperback)
When I first read this book, I was not bowled over by it, but as time went by a nagging thought in my mind became increasingly apparent – “You have to read this book again.” And thank goodness I did; The Mighty Walzer is a minor masterpiece.
I think the main reason I love this book so much is that Walzer is something of an anti-hero, but sympathetic nevertheless – Alexander Portnoy rather than Holden Caulfield. He is a character with whom any teenage misfit is able to identify.
The novel’s humour is largely down to Jacobson’s deadpan delivery, without which the book would be much more heavy-going. There are moments which misfire – I was not convinced of the necessity of the Cambridge scenes, though maybe necessity is not the point – Jacobson is telling a story, and not everything in life makes sense. I found the reunion scenes particularly powerful.
I would urge anybody to read this book, but would advise that some prior knowledge of Yiddish (or at least Hebrew or German) could be useful. “The Joys of Yiddish” by Leo Rosten is a sound investment for the first-time Yiddish-user.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 20 Jun. 2008
This review is from: The Mighty Walzer (Paperback)
One of Jacobson's great strengths is his facility with language. His prose style is wonderful, full of beautifully constructed passages which read as natural and unfeigned. This book demonstrates that skill throughout.

Another great strength is his humour, which here made me laugh out loud at times, and at others brought a wry smile.

The story is excellent, and his characters are vivid and well drawn.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The culmination of Jacobson's abilities., 17 Jan. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Mighty Walzer (Hardcover)
There are certain novels where the author finally makes good on all the promise that he's previously shown (think Martin Amis' "London Fields"). In "Walzer," Jacobson is able to combine his misanthropic humor with a genuinely touching coming-of-age story. No doubt the author is tired of reviews that compare him to Mordecai Richler, but with this book he has surpassed Richler and come into his own. This book is both funny and sad, and I cannot recommend it more highly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny, as ever, 28 Nov. 2011
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This review is from: The Mighty Walzer (Paperback)
Howard Jacobson shot to fame when he won the 2010 Booker Prize with the Finkler Question. I was put off the winning novel itself by various comments, so was tempted to try out one of his earlier stories instead.

I liked it. He gels an engaging tale around adolescence, Jewish family life , playing table tennis, and working on his dad's market stall. He pokes plenty of fun along the way in his self-confident, slightly dry style.

I find Jacobson's non-fiction scintillating. He is penetrating, original, and has always got something interesting to say. I thought his fiction on the other hand, although witty, was perhaps a shade ordinary.

I enjoyed it but I don't think I'll rush to sample his other novels - I'll read `Whatever it is, I Don't Like it' next.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read, 24 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: The Mighty Walzer (Paperback)
The Mighty Walzer is a little over-egged; and is mining quite middle class territory - the deprivations you get from getting changed in full view in Marks And Spencers, say. But it is good; the visual pictures are stunning and the characterisation is fine - Mr. Jacob senior (we take it in all it's autobiographical detail0 is a great creation and very amusing.

The Mighty Walzer is told in a fine lyrical prose and would lend itself very well to being filmed. Manchester in the 1950's comes across well and the childhood of boys is evoked finely. Tips of the hat to Mr. Roth and also something of the sensibility of Salman Rushdie.

Howard Jacobson is no thriller writer and the plot could do with a bit of strengthening (for my taste and inclining years). Minor criticisms aside, The Mighty Walzer is a good read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A mighty novel, 2 April 2013
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Iain (Switzerland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Mighty Walzer (Paperback)
This novel excels on many different levels; funny, informative, critical, moral, philosophical, metaphysical, the detailed grind of daily life in poverty and striving to emerge from it, sport, technique and the value of winning and losing, love and it's elusiveness, the child in permanent battle with its upbringing and perhaps its genes, sex as motivator and relief, family, friendship, community, immigration and integration, richness of cultures, origins and evolution, education, career, memory and truth, and death. Just to name a few of the elements which spring to mind. The novel grasped my attention and did not let go even after the last page was turned. Hence this short review. A great novel and fantastic, perhaps historic achievement.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Art of Ping Pong, 27 Nov. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Mighty Walzer (Hardcover)
Howard Jacobson's most recent novel, The Mighty Walzer, is not only amusing, but beautifully written, so it offers the reader something more substantial than mere entertainment. The characters are at once original and recognizable. The setting is Jewish North Manchester in the nineteen-fifties and the hero is a teenage ping pong champion, but the content has more universal interest than either ping pong or North Manchester. Do buy it for someone for Hanukkah or for Christmas, and make sure you borrow it and read it yourself.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars more ping than pong - very funny, 13 Sept. 2005
By 
Huck Flynn "huckleberry" (northern ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Mighty Walzer (Paperback)
I must admit i did laugh out loud at some of the episodes in this, my first, Jacobson. He is a very clever writer and with the Jewish, post war, likely lad nostalgic humour this a bit like Philip Roth crossed with Woody Allen in an Only Fools and Horses setting. Jacobson is extremely funny in his mock philosophic analysis of table tennis and there are lots of little coming of age episodes to keep the reader amused along with the obligatory dysfunctional family, his street trader father, spinster aunts and classic jewish mother. There is poignancy too and the book, although over long, does move you to ponder profound questions but fundamentally it's the comic adventures of young Waltzer. Recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A master of entertaining language, 7 Feb. 2014
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M. J. M. Mills (London UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Mighty Walzer (Kindle Edition)
This is the latest highly entertaining Howard Jacobsen look at life but here we have his insights into a Jewish family seen through the eyes of a son experimenting with experiences of considerable variety. His passion for table tennis allows us to share his ambitions and doubts not least about the female sex.
I particularly enjoy the way Jacobsen uses words,
.
Great fun.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Mighty good read, 8 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: The Mighty Walzer (Kindle Edition)
This is a really funny, intelligent and wonderful book. The reader really gets inside the head of the main character and wants to cheer him on through life's set backs and triumphs. A great and quirky cast of Walzer's family and friends too.
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The Mighty Walzer
The Mighty Walzer by Howard Jacobson (Paperback - 6 April 2000)
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