The Finkler Answer

on Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Damn I wish I would have placed a bet! I wanted Howard Jacobson to win. I thought he deserved to win. I even believed he stood a chance of winning. But after my little Mister Pip experience, I shied away from coughing up the dough. Damn you Lloyd Jones. You have lost me money again!!!

The haters are already out slagging off The Finkler Question. "How," asked one bookselling Tweeter (or is that Twit?), "am I going to sell this to my customers?" Yes, those poms must be quaking in their boots at the prospect of having to convince a goyishe general public to buy such a niche (on the surface) Yiddische novel. Never mind that Jacobson is, after Philip Roth, the best chronicler of modern Jewish life writing today. Or that The Finkler Question is not just a Jewish book, but a very English one too and, as such, can be appreciated equally on both levels. Indeed, you don't even have to 'get' the 'Jewish thing' to love (and laugh with) this book. Jacobson is the modern master of the complex literary joke. He has proven that time and time again. The Finkler Question takes it to a new level. It is an hilarious comedy of (bad) manners and an acerbic commentary on what it means to be an English 'man' today.

It was fantastic to see that Booker judges saw fit to award the prize to one of only two deserving novels on the shortlist. And that they weren't afraid to bestow such an honour on what is, in essence, a comic novel.

I really wish I was in England right now, just to watch those dour Brits trudge into their local Waterstone's and begrudgingly buy The Finkler Question expecting to hate it... They're in for a rude, if oddly riotous, surprise!


Rabbi D said...

Hobbling desperately to the toilets cursed with a cholent induced bowel upheaval on a yawning shabbos afternoon at the historic East Melbourne Synagogue, i swiped this off the book shelf in the choir loft marked "jewish books ok to tread in the toilet( because they have no direct scriptural reference)" And so because it was Shabbos (no phones tablets tvs or radios even in the dunny) and because i was desperate (the complete history of the Melbourne Chevra Kadisha was just out of reach) i came to read this in the ladies toilet at Melburnes oldest Synagogue on Shabbos arvo. i read it in about 6 sittings. very funny and clever. kind of gets to the nub of Jewish peoples neuroses about anti Semitism and Israel. Oh and it has a few scriptural references.

The Bookworm said...

Yep - got it in a nutshell. So to speak...

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