Bloomsbury £7.99 (384pp) from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
The Finkler Question, By Howard Jacobson
Friday 06 May 2011
With Jacobson, and especially on this Man Booker-winning form, you sign up for the process - for the uproarious, heart-rending journey - and not for some imaginary "closure". As with literature, so with life.
Some readers complain about the talky plotlessness of the novel that at last snared Jacobson the bauble he thought would forever elude him. Well, as his three wrangling friends – two history-haunted, philosophising London Jews and a touching, comic wannabe called (what else?) Julian – come to know too well, our human plot can end only one way.
Until it does (and grief in many forms shapes and shadows all the bitingly intelligent comedy on display here) they – and we – must keep talking, joking, trying to understand. Failing again. Failing better.
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant