8 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Best Booker Book in years,
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Finkler Question (Hardcover)
I orded this book before publication as an avid fan of Howard Jacobson. I enjoyed it enormously and felt a sense of ownership or vindication of my taste in literature, when I learnt that it had won the Booker prize. Much has been made about the humour in the writing, so what's new? I love Jacobson for his mordant wit but this skill is not exercised for quick or cheap laughs but in the tradition of all great Jewish humourists as a way of illuminating or explaining the tragedy of the human condition.
The counterpoint between Finkler, the self hating Jew and Treslove, the hapless, hopeless, philo-semitic non-Jew, is a wonderful devise that not only explores the nature of Jewishness (note, NOT Judaism)but more important, the nature of community and belonging. As much as Finkler would like to shed the encumberance of his Jewishness so does Treslove wish to embrace the community, as long as, God forbid, he doesn't actually have to convert. Emrace the community he does in both meanings of the word.
As Finkler mourns the death of his non-Jewish wife so Treslove finds transient joy in the warm embrace of a Jewish woman of his dreams complete with never ending supplies of chicken soup. The third party, Tibor, is the most asttractive character. He represents the eastern European cultured wandering Jew. We meet him after the death of his talented musical wife who gave up her careere as a pianist to be with him. His mourning has genuine pathos to the extent that Treslove's ambition, in addition to becoming Jewish, is to love and lose a love in order to emulate the the dignified state of mourning of a lost love exemplified by his friend and mentor Tibor.
From these unpromising details of a plot, Jacobson weaves a tale of such tragic comedy that a times I had to put the book down in order to catch my breath from uncontrolled laughter.
Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 24 Feb 2011 12:39:18 GMT
Carolyn S. says:
I agree with you about the comedy in this wonderful book. I was laughing so much at some points, particularly the beginning section, that my husband threatened to throw me out of bed! But I have a feeling this humour might appeal mainly to the British, as some of my American friends did not find the book particularly amusing.
‹ Previous 1 Next ›