Tag Archives: Howard Jacobson

The Man Booker Prize Shortlist Readings 2014

Booker shortlist 2014

Last year, I went to the Man Booker Prize shortlist readings event at the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre. This year, I was lucky enough to win tickets to the same event which was held at the Royal Festival Hall on Monday and hosted by Kirsty Wark.

This year’s shortlisted novels are:

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

J by Howard Jacobson

The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee

How to be Both by Ali Smith

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The Man Booker Prize Longlist 2014

This year’s Man Booker Prize longlist was announced today. The thirteen titles are:

Joshua Ferris – To Rise Again at a Decent Hour
Richard Flanagan – The Narrow Road to the Deep North
Karen Joy Fowler – We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
Siri Hustvedt – The Blazing World
Howard Jacobson – J
Paul Kingsnorth – The Wake
David Mitchell – The Bone Clocks
Neel Mukherjee – The Lives of Others
David Nicholls – Us
Joseph O’Neill – The Dog
Richard Powers – Orfeo
Ali Smith – How To Be Both
Niall Williams – History of the Rain

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The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson

After reading ‘1Q84’ last week, I felt like tackling something a tad shorter this week (although pretty much anything would seem short after that).  Winner of the 2010 Man Booker Prize, ‘The Finkler Question’ by Howard Jacobson was the first ‘comic’ novel to win the prize since Kingsley Amis won in 1986 with ‘The Old Devils’.  I’ve read some terrible reviews for this book but as part of my ongoing quest to read as many Booker Prize-winning or nominated novels as possible, I thought I’d give it a go anyway when I found it in the library the other day.

‘The Finkler Question’ tells the story of middle-aged former BBC producer Julian Treslove, his old schoolfriend Jewish philosopher Samuel Finkler and their former tutor Libor Sevcik.  It’s certainly not an easy book to fall in love with.  The satire of the BBC was nicely done as were the general observations of relationships and aging but I still think Julian Barnes is more skilled than Jacobson when it comes to incorporating subtle humour and irony into his work. Continue reading


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