Monday, 11 October 2010

Howard Jacobson - The Finkler Question

This book is cleverly disguised as the Jewish question, and is really a very intense bit of navel gazing. The story is loosely based around one Julian Treslove. His best friend from school has been the Jewish Sam (Samuel) Finkler, and both their mentors and lifelong friend is the Jewish Libor Seveik. Both Finkler and Libor are recently widowed. Treslove has never married. Treslove looking at his successful friend Finkler and the successful marriage of his friend Libor, ponders whether this is inherently due to Jewishness. He then begins a relationship with Libor's niece and begins the process of attempting to become Jewish himself.
This book has some very funny moments, some sad ones and a great deal of reflection. For instance if you are Jewish but support Palestine does that make you anti-semetic? The scene in the Groucho club between the ASHamed Jews and the music industry followers of Kabbalah was hysterical.
I enjoyed it but I am not sure that it sadly will have a wide appeal. Of course it will probably win now!

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