The Finkler question / Howard Jacobson.
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- ISBN: 9781410435323
- ISBN: 1410435326
- Physical Description: 575 p. (large print) ; 23 cm.
- Edition: Large print ed.
- Publisher: Waterville, Me. : Thorndike Press, 2011.
"Thorndike Press large print reviewers' choice."
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|Subject:||Male friendship > Fiction.
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Publishers Weekly Review
The Finkler Question
Winner of the 2010 Man Booker Prize, Jacobson's wry, devastating novel examines the complexities of identity and belonging, love, and grief through the lens of contemporary Judaism. Julian Treslove, a former BBC producer who works as a celebrity double, feels out of sync with his longtime friend and sometimes rival Sam Finkler, a popular author of philosophy-themed self-help books and a rabidly anti-Zionist Jewish scholar. The two have reconnected with their elderly professor, Libor Sevcik, following the deaths of Finkler and Libor's wives, leaving Treslove-the bachelor Gentile-even more out of the loop. But after Treslove is mugged-the crime has possible anti-Semitic overtones-he becomes obsessed with what it means to be Jewish, or "a Finkler." Jacobson brilliantly contrasts Treslove's search for a Jewish identity-through food, spurts of research, sex with Jewish women-with Finkler's thorny relationship with his Jewish heritage and fellow Jews. Libor, meanwhile, struggles to find his footing after his wife's death, the intense love he felt for her reminding Treslove of the belonging he so craves. Jacobson's prose is effortless-witty when it needs to be, heartbreaking where it counts-and the Jewish question becomes a metaphor without ever being overdone. (Oct.) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal Review
The Finkler Question
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
In tribute to his childhood pal, Samuel Finkler, Julian Treslove, a former BBC arts producer, has always privately thought of Jews as Finklers. Now in late middle age, Treslove and Finkler have remained friends and have also stayed close to their former history teacher and bon vivant, the nonagenarian Libor Sevick, another Jew. After a night out with his two old friends, Treslove is mugged by a female assailant who says something to him that sounds at first like, "Your jewels," but that he later interprets to be, "You Jew." This life-defining moment sparks an identity crisis, one in which Treslove, who has always been the envious outsider, comes to believe he might actually be Jewish. At the same time, Finkler, a widely regarded and well-known philosopher, joins the ranks of a group called "ASHamed," Jews who distance themselves from the Israeli cause in sympathy for the Palestinians. Just as an outbreak of violent anti-Semitic incidents causes Finkler to rethink his alliance with ASHamed, Treslove falls in love with Sevick's niece and becomes deeply immersed in Jewish studies. Verdict The novel's underlying question is: Can you choose to be Jewish or can you choose not to be? This Man Booker Prize nominee is as entertaining as it is provocative and will be essential reading for thoughtful readers on either side of the debate. Highly recommended.-Barbara Love, Kingston Frontenac P.L., Kingston, Ont. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
The Finkler Question
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Julian Treslove is plagued by the notion that his life lacks substance. He has had only the most superficial relationships with women, two of whom bore him sons he has hardly seen, and his career is at an impasse, for he now makes his living as a celebrity double. He longs for the tangible lives of his best friends, both Jewish widowers. Middle-aged Sam Finkler is a wildly successful TV personality and author whose wife succumbed to cancer, while octogenarian Libor Sevick has lost the woman he was happily married to for more than 50 years. Julian becomes obsessed with the idea of becoming Jewish as a way to give his life meaning and embarks on a personal odyssey in which he learns Yiddish, takes a Jewish lover, and becomes involved with the Museum of Anglo-Jewish Culture. Jacobson uses Julian's transformation as a way of examining, often with a mordant wit reminiscent of comedian Larry David's, what it means to be Jewish. Winner of the 2010 Man Booker Prize, this novel also offers poignant insights into the indignities of aging, the competitiveness of male friendship, and the yearning to belong.--Wilkinson, Joanne Copyright 2010 Booklist