Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Finkler Question Wins Booker

Looks like the betting parlors of London will win back the money they lost last year when odds-on favorite Wolf Hall won the Booker. Today, Howard Jacobson was named the winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction for his comic novel, The Finkler Question, published by Bloomsbury.

Said to have "some of the wittiest, most poignant and sharply intelligent comic prose in the English language," The Finkler Question has been described as "wonderful" and "richly satisfying" and as a novel "full of wit, warmth, intelligence, human feeling and understanding." The Finkler Question is a novel about love, loss and male friendship that explores what it means to be Jewish today -- a witty novel about a friendship between a radio producer and a philosopher.  Ron Charles of The Washington Post said "no other book has given me such a clear sense of the benevolent disguises that anti-Jewish sentiments can wear."

London author and columnist Jacobson, a prolific writer of comic novels mostly about Jews and Jewish identity since 1983 has been longlisted twice for the Booker Prize -- in 2006 for Kalooki Nights and in 2002 for Who's Sorry Now -- but has never before been shortlisted. The winning selection was a small triumph for humor in fiction, an argument that Mr. Jacobson made in an essay in The Guardian last Saturday:

“There is a fear of comedy in the novel today – when did you last see the word ‘funny’ on the jacket of a serious novel? – that no one who loves the form should contemplate with pleasure,” he wrote. “We have created a false division between laughter and thought, between comedy and seriousness, between the exhilaration that the great novels offer when they are at their funniest, and whatever else it is we now think we want from literature.”

Listen to David Sax on NPR's "You Must Read This" talking about The Finkler Question here.

1 comment:

  1. Wit and warmth - I'm ready for some of that!


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