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The Mighty Walzer Paperback – 6 Apr 2000

4.0 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (6 April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099274728
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099274728
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 155,802 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

Howard Jacobson has been described as "one of the funniest writers alive", his fiction a masterpiece of comedy. "At its best", writes Mary Loudon, "it simply tears you apart." Following the success of No More Mr Nice Guy in 1998--Jacobson's foul and funny rendition of the sex war--The Mighty Walzer moves into the strange, and passionate, world of ping pong to tell the life of one Oliver Walzer. "Grandiosity was in the family," Oliver announces at the very beginning of his account of a childhood in Manchester in the 1950s. "On my father's side. Normally, when I speak of "the family" I seem to mean my father's side. Make what you like of that." It's a challenge which runs throughout the book. We can make what we like of this "history of embarrassments" and the family--"from some sucking bog outside Proskurov"--which supports it.

"One disillusionment at a time" is the principle behind Jacobson's telling of a youth suspended between ping pong and masturbation, mortification and omnipotence, anti- Semitism and the Akiva gang. At the Akiva club, Walzer comes into his own: he's a natural, with the makings of a "star" (even if he is stoned by the "prefab boys" on his way there). At home, he's caught between the flamboyance of his market-trader father--the "swag", and swagger, he wants to pass on to his son--and his mother's famous "reserve". Balancing the split legacy--win or lose? laugh or cry? put up or shut up?--is part of the pain, and pleasure, of the book. No surprise, perhaps, that Walzer is unwilling to make a clear distinction between the two. When it comes to sex and friendship, family and history, life and ping pong, The Mighty Walzer is a brilliant story of one man's journey to the realm of "pain fun": the pleasure of a life spent losing and learning what you can ask for. --Vicky Lebeau --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Jacobson is a great storyteller: phrases, anecdotes and atmosphere roll off the page with the ease and sublime, scary grace of drunken eels...he is unsurpassable" (The Times)

"This mature novel has the sustained exuberance and passion of his youthful writing...an achingly funny book...an amazing acheivement... There are few novelists today who can imbue the trifles of life with such poetry" (Independent)

"Marvellous. Jacobson has not just written the first great novel about ping-pong. He has written one of the greatest sporting novels ever...a towering work of authority" (Sunday Telegraph)

"Jacobson's humour is unashamedly savage and his jokes as sharp as a switch-blade...comic vitriol worthy of Evelyn Waugh" (Sunday Express)

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