English writer, Howard Jacobson, has been awarded the prestigious Man Booker prize for fiction. The prize was for his novel, The Finkler Question.
The Sydney Morning Herald comments on the award here, describing the book as the first comic novel to win the award in its 42-year history.According to the article, Jacobson states “It is a book about Jewishness. But it is so much more than that. It is a book about male friendship – and how we don’t always like our friends.”
Jacobson evidently spent 12 years living and working in Australia, including teaching at the University of Sydney, so there’s sure to be some local stories circulating.
Jacobson talks about the novel in a brief video here. from a BBC review show. He describes the very Jewish idea of “searching for a sentence where you laugh and weep at the same time.” Some literary pundits (including Germaine Greer) then discuss the novel. Two are very complimentary (not Germaine) while a chap called China is agitated that Jacobson is at one stage mocking the views of “Jews against Israel” (poor things).
At our Ozi Zion blog, we previously highlighted a great video of Howard Jacobson demolishing “boycott Israel” bigotry in a very entertaining way. Have another look at the video – see down the page on the link, which is part of the thoughtful “Engage” website.
Excellent! The Finkler Question is definitely going to be a book worth reading… in fact, since China the pundit is correct, according to this review by David Hirsh, entitled “Jacobson’s demolition of the Ashamed Jew” get a couple of copies for friends.
Hopefully we’ll see Howard Jacobson revisit Australian shores to promote the book.
Since Jacobson is also great on the Middle East as he takes on the anti-Israel bigots and hypocrites, he will hopefully have a very positive influence on the discussion (now that would be a dangerous idea)…. and if a few of the Israel-haters gnash their teeth, all the better.