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4 Hawthorne Literature- A to Z

The Finkler Question


The Finkler Question Cover

ISBN13: 9781608196111
ISBN10: 1608196119
Condition: Standard
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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.
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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.

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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.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
Stuart Schultz, January 2, 2011 (view all comments by Stuart Schultz)
This novelist produces a book that you cannot put down. It is at once funny, very funny, humanistic and a grand commentary on religion and the religious.
You wonder if Christians, Jews and Moslems,given the views they hold so deeply, can ever find peace. When a Christian tries to turn Jewish, despite a very intense desire to do so, he cannot. And when a Jew decides to be a strong anti-Zionist (supposedly for humanistic reasons) he cannot. The commentary is based in England and tells you a lot about tolerance and intolerance in England; but is this much different than the United States.

Read this book, because you will enjoy it and learn much about relationships between men of different ages. But then you will be drawn, unknowingly, into a vortex of very serious observations about the condition of humanity today.
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Ken Klein, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by Ken Klein)
An extraordinarily observant, poignant, and funny book that goes beyond its prominent theme of what it's like to be a Jew in England at this particular time - to encompass themes of love, friendship, betrayal, and all manner of human folly and frailty. Highly recommended!
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Product Details

Jacobson, Howard
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.31 x 5.47 x 0.915 in

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The Finkler Question Used Trade Paper
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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.

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