Howard Jacobson

Celebrated novelist Howard Jacobson's most recent novel is Man Booker-nominated 'J'. He has also written 'The Finkler Question', published to great acclaim in 2010. An acerbic critic and broadcaster with a passion for literature and art, he is known for his ebullient wit.

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Exclusive extract from Howard Jacobson’s acclaimed new novel about love and the letter 'J'

In this exclusive extract, we meet  Kevern Cohen and Ailinn Solomons. Are they falling in love or, under the shadow of What Happened, If It Happened, are they too anxious to take the risk? She is an orphan, he was brought up to seal his lips; both fear they have been pushed into each others arms. But why?

Sorrento

I was about 12 when I began celebrating my birthday by sobbing over sad music

Some thoughts lie too deep for tears. But it’s through tears that we access them

A doctor injects a patient with Botox at a cosmetic treatment center

Why do women opt for cosmetic surgery when there is such beauty in age?

Women are trading their dignity and grace for the furious flower of plastic evil

Win a holiday for two and a travel-writing commission

The truly wonderful thing about being a painter, writer, or musician is escaping the self

To lose oneself in making art is an incomparable way of living life

Stand up for curry! It can save your life

As long as you’re not sitting down while eating it

A woman’s power is in her laughter – no wonder men are scared enough they want to silence it

Unloose laughter in her, and the angels are in turmoil

In his elitism, his intransigence, his scorn of the masses, Michael Gove is a Coriolanus for our times

Wherever two or more people agree it’s time to worry. Wherever thousands agree it’s time to run

Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside

Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps

Let every cyclist join the Tour de France. Then we pedestrians will only have buses and juggernauts to worry about in town

The Earth is getting hotter in more ways than one

The planet is overheating – with vitriol and exaggerated feeling

There’s enthusiasm, and then there’s the hyperbole that’s overheating the planet. We all need to cool down a little

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Iraq crisis: The truth is, nobody has the first clue whether Isis is a threat to this country

These three little words that mean more to me than any others: I don’t know

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