The Finkler Question (Man Booker Prize Winner), Howard Jacobson, ISBN 9781408809105
The Finkler Question (Man Booker Prize Winner) (paperback)

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by: Howard Jacobson
ISBN: 9781408809105
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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.

Media Reviews of The Finkler Question (Man Booker Prize Winner)
Howard Jacobson's Booker-winning "Finkler Question," reviewed by Ron Charles
An Excerpt taken from Washington Post.

Howard Jacobson's laugh-out-loud exploration of Jewishness, The Finkler Question, last night became the first unashamedly comic novel to win the Man Booker prize in its 42-year history.
There will be cries of "about time too" for a funny and warm writer, now 68, who has long been highly regarded but unrewarded with major literary prizes.

The Booker prize chairman, Sir Andrew Motion, said it was "quite amazing" that this was the first time Jacobson had been shortlisted. But he was not, in any way, being rewarded because it was his turn.

"It never came into our minds," he said. "Having said that, there is a particular pleasure in seeing somebody who is that good finally getting his just deserts."

Jacobson admitted he had waited a long time and, yes, there had been bitterness. "I have been wanting to win the Booker prize from the start. I don't think I'm alone in that, it's such a fantastic prize. It was beginning to look like I was the novelist that never ever won the Booker prize.
"I have been increasingly talked about as underrated and I'm so sick of being described as the underrated Howard Jacobson. So the thought that's gone forever, is wonderful."
Jacobson's victory means he is the oldest winner since William Golding won in 1980, aged 69, for Rites of Passage.
The judges were much brisker than in previous years in taking just an hour to agree Jacobson should win, with a 3-2 split. "It was a pretty intense hour. It wasn't unanimous but it was a decision that everybody is entirely happy with," said Motion.
He declined to say which side he was on or which book just missed out: "I don't want that person to go to bed tonight and eat their pillow."

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