Signed Edition Sweepstakes
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$4.50
List price: $15.00
Used Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Hawthorne Literature- A to Z

The Finkler Question

by

The Finkler Question Cover

ISBN13: 9781608196111
ISBN10: 1608196119
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

Only 1 left in stock at $4.50!

 

Awards

2010 Man Booker Prize Winner
The Rooster 2011 Morning News Tournament of Books Nominee

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"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 and disappointed BBC worker, 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 Sevick, a Czechoslovakian 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 had 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 11:30pm, as Treslove hesitates a moment outside the window of the oldest violin dealer in the country as he walks home, that he is attacked. After this, his whole sense of who and what he is will slowly and ineluctably change.

The Finkler Question is a scorching story of exclusion and belonging, justice and love, aging, wisdom and humanity. Funny, furious, unflinching, this extraordinary novel shows one of our finest writers at his brilliant best.

Review:

"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.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright PWyxz LLC)

Review:

"A real giant. A great, great writer." Jonathan Safran Foer

Review:

"The Finkler Question is wonderful. A blistering portrayal of a funny man who at last confronts the darkness of the world." Beryl Bainbridge

Review:

"Naked, haunting, unflinching. Its account of sexual obsession is frightening, painful and finally very moving. A tour de force." Harold Pinter

Synopsis:

A staggeringly brilliant new novel from bestselling and award-winning novelist Howard Jacobson.

Synopsis:

Winner of the 2010 Man Booker Prize

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 lost touch with each other, or with their former teacher, Libor Sevcik.

Dining together one night at Sevcik's apartment—the two Jewish widowers and the unmarried Gentile, Treslove—the men share a sweetly painful evening, reminiscing on a time before they had loved and lost, before they had prized anything greatly enough to fear the loss of it. But as Treslove makes his way home, he is attacked and mugged outside a violin dealer's window. Treslove is convinced the crime was a misdirected act of anti-Semitism, and in its aftermath, his whole sense of self will ineluctably change.

The Finkler Question is a funny, furious, unflinching novel of friendship and loss, exclusion and belonging, and the wisdom and humanity of maturity.

About the Author

An award-winning writer and broadcaster, Howard Jacobson was born in Manchester, brought up in Prestwich and was educated at Stand Grammar School in Whitefield, and Downing College, Cambridge, where he studied under F. R. Leavis. He lectured for three years at the University of Sydney before returning to teach at Selwyn College, Cambridge. His novels include The Mighty Walzer (winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize), Kalooki Nights (longlisted for the Man Booker Prize) and the highly acclaimed The Act of Love. Howard Jacobson lives in London.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 8 comments:

rvdee, January 19, 2012 (view all comments by rvdee)
If malaise is your thing, this book is a must.

The book is a classic character study. In fact, a cornucopia of character studies held together with a relatively thin plot.

Oh, stuff happens: death, a mugging, extramarital affairs, terrorism, death. But it's mainly an analysis of Jewishness in contemporary England.

Treslove is not a Jew (unless he is), but he is mugged into an awareness of his Jewphilia. Or anti-Semitism. The narrative explores the symbiosis of those states.

As with much contemporary Brit lit, self-loathing predominates among the elite, over-educated characters who populate this novel. And self-loathing is, of course, revealed as just another form of self-love.

Take a break from contemplating your own omphalos and check out these navel-gazers. If, upon finishing the narrative, you end up thinking, "There's a couple of days I'll never see again," then you've truly enjoyed the book.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(0 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
Matthew Halloran, January 2, 2012 (view all comments by Matthew Halloran)
I'd say this is the best book of the year because it is just powerfully unique. It's a page-turner without a particularly compelling plot, very funny while instilling a strange sense of unease/ angst throughout, tackles an important subject in the context of characters' lives which are pretty 'trivial' (not that they're not coping with the typical tragedies life dishes out), etc. That's the best I can do in terms of articulating it. One of the blurbs nails it when it says there is a nugget of pure gold on every page.

My wife and I both grew up in areas with substantial Jewish populations and are always shocked at how often we meet people who have no idea when they encounter Jews in the course of their lives. I'd recommend the Finkler Question for these types for its intelligent confrontation of reality and stereotypes. That said, as someone who takes my Irish-Catholic heritage fairly seriously, the book was revelatory in its depiction of how faith/ history/ current affairs pervade these characters everyday lives in a way I simply can't fathom.

The Booker prize is probably enough of a recommendation, but it's a great read that's hard to put in eye-catching terms.

Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
sarah e, September 6, 2011 (view all comments by sarah e)
The Finkler Question is sort of a coming-of-middle-age. Julian works as a celebrity lookalike. He's divorced and unliked by his children, he envies his friends' recent widowerhoods, and he's been mugged by a woman. He wishes he was Jewish. I felt that because I was neither middle-aged, male, nor Jewish, I couldn't really relate to the characters - but I was fascinated by them. This book is funny, but I felt like I was out of the loop. I would say this book is worth a read for the Question itself, and any possible answer.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 8 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9781608196111
Author:
Jacobson, Howard
Publisher:
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20101031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8.31 x 5.47 x 0.915 in

Other books you might like

  1. Wolf Hall
    Used Trade Paper $8.50

Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Award Winners
Featured Titles » Bestsellers
Featured Titles » Man Booker Prize Winners
Featured Titles » Morning News Tournament » Tournament of Books 2011
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Jewish
History and Social Science » Law » General
History and Social Science » Military » Strategy Tactics and Deception
Reference » General
Transportation » Nautical » Boats » Boating

The Finkler Question Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.50 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Bloomsbury Publishing PLC - English 9781608196111 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "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.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Review" by , "A real giant. A great, great writer."
"Review" by , "The Finkler Question is wonderful. A blistering portrayal of a funny man who at last confronts the darkness of the world."
"Review" by , "Naked, haunting, unflinching. Its account of sexual obsession is frightening, painful and finally very moving. A tour de force."
"Synopsis" by , A staggeringly brilliant new novel from bestselling and award-winning novelist Howard Jacobson.
"Synopsis" by , Winner of the 2010 Man Booker Prize

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 lost touch with each other, or with their former teacher, Libor Sevcik.

Dining together one night at Sevcik's apartment—the two Jewish widowers and the unmarried Gentile, Treslove—the men share a sweetly painful evening, reminiscing on a time before they had loved and lost, before they had prized anything greatly enough to fear the loss of it. But as Treslove makes his way home, he is attacked and mugged outside a violin dealer's window. Treslove is convinced the crime was a misdirected act of anti-Semitism, and in its aftermath, his whole sense of self will ineluctably change.

The Finkler Question is a funny, furious, unflinching novel of friendship and loss, exclusion and belonging, and the wisdom and humanity of maturity.

spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.