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Author: Howard Jacobson
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9781408809105
Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2010.
‘He should have seen it coming. His life had been one mishap after another. So he should have been prepared for this one...’
Julian Treslove, a professionally unspectacular former BBC radio producer, and Sam Finkler, a popular Jewish philosopher, writer and television personality, are old school friends.
Despite a prickly relationship and very different lives, they’ve never quite lost touch with each other – or with their former teacher, Libor Sevcik, a Czech always more concerned with the wider world than with exam results.
Now, both Libor and Finkler are recently widowed, and with Treslove, his chequered and unsuccessful record with women rendering him an honorary third widower, they dine at Libor’s grand, central London apartment.
It’s a sweetly painful evening of reminiscence in which all three remove themselves to a time before they had loved and lost; a time before they had fathered children, before the devastation of separations, before they had prized anything greatly enough to fear the loss of it.
Better, perhaps, to go through life without knowing happiness at all because that way you have less to mourn? Treslove finds he has tears enough for the unbearable sadness of both his friends’ losses.
And it’s that very evening, at exactly 11:30 pm, as Treslove, walking home, hesitates a moment outside the window of the oldest violin dealer in the country, that he is attacked. And after this, his whole sense of who and what he is will slowly and ineluctably change.
The Finkler Question is a scorching story of friendship and loss, exclusion and belonging, and of the wisdom and humanity of maturity. Funny, furious, unflinching, this extraordinary novel shows one of our finest writers at his brilliant best.
'A real giant. A great, great writer.'
--- Jonathan Safran Foer
‘Full off wit, Warmth, intelligence, human feeling and understanding.’
‘Another Masterpiece… How is it possible to read Howard Jacobson and not lose oneself in admiration for the music of his language, the power of his characterisation and the penetration of his insight.’
--- The Times
‘A terrifying and ambitious novel, full of dangerous shadows and dark, deep water.’
'The Finkler Question is wonderful. A blistering portrayal of a funny man who at last confronts the darkness of the world.'
--- Beryl Bainbridge
Praise for The Act of Love: 'It is an almost frighteningly brilliant achievement. Why did the Booker judges not recognise it? Scaredy-cats.'
--- Nicholas Lezard, Guardian
'Naked, haunting, unflinching. Its account of sexual obsession is frightening, painful and finally very moving. A tour de force.'
--- Harold Pinter