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Showing results for tags 'Howard Jacobson'.
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Has anyone read this? I'm struggling with it at the moment, and only continuing with it because it is a book group read; otherwise I would have abandoned it. I find it funny in parts but it hasn't grabbed me enough to make me want to pick it up again. Any thoughts on whether you like it or not would be appreciated.
A new novel by Jacobson is always an event. Remember Peeping Tom or The Making of Henry? No? Never mind, this one, according to AC Grayling is 'the most intelligent and important novel to appear in this country in years . . . a work of genius.' Can't be bad then, can it? Of all the screwed-up jews, Jacobson's my favourite. He beats Bellow, Roth and even Singer for sheer readability. His narrators, versions of the author, are so jumpy, self-conscious and prickly they make you uneasy as the sea, and you love them for just that. This one, Max Glickman, is a caricaturist, which gives him license to say anything because that's his business - to shock people into seeing the truth. Max delves into the past of his boyhood friend, an orthodox jew determined to get to the roots of his jewishness, obsessed with the holocaust (the friend, equally obsessed ends by gassing his orthodox parents). While Max's mother is steeped in kalooki, a form of rummy, Max has 3 marriages with gentile wives, all failures because he's drawn to failure. He feels hated wherever he goes and cannot escape his jewishness. He is forced to dig into the mire of the past, the horrors of the concentration camps - and we are spared nothing - in order to stay sane. All these interlocking themes - the struggle to understand self and society, the relationship to parents, friends, the racial past, God and His senseless universe - are worked out with intelligence and irony. It's a funny book about tragic events and asks vital questions without offering answers. No wonder the philosopher Grayling loved it.