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The A -Z of Howard Jacobson

The A -Z of Howard Jacobson

As part of our new author profile series, here is an introduction to Howard Jacobson and his writing.

Posted on 12th February 2016 by Rob Chilver
Howard Jacobson is a British novelist and journalist, arguably best known for his Booker winning novel, The Finkler Question. Consistently entertaining and questioning, Jacobson writes comic novels that often focus and examine the many dilemmas faced by his Jewish characters.
Beginning his career in 1983 with Coming from Behind, Jacobson has published 13 novels to date, alongside works of non-fiction and appearing on television documentaries and debates. Below we highlight five novels from his prolific career. 

The Mighty Walzer, 1999
His 1999 novel The Mighty Walzer, about a teenage table tennis champion, won the Jacobson the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for comic writing. Set in the Manchester of the 1950s, it draws from Jacobson's own youth where he was a self-confessed table tennis fan in his teenage years. Jacobson has said, or even admits, that there is more than an element of autobiography within The Mighty Walzer.

The Finkler Question, 2010
It was with The Finkler Question that Jacobson won the prestigious Man Booker Prize, the first comic novel to do so since Kingsley Amis's The Old Devils in 1986. Exploring what it means to be Jewish today, Andrew Motion, the chair of the judges, described it as "a marvellous book: very funny, of course, but also very clever, very sad and very subtle. It is all that it seems to be and much more than it seems to be. A completely worthy winner of this great prize."

Zoo Time, 2012
J, 2014 
Jacobson followed up his Booker win with Zoo Time in 2012. Described as a novel about love in many forms - the love of women, the love of literature, and the love of laughter. The Jewish Chronicle described it as ‘wonderfully witty, ferociously clever and assured to the point of swaggering - he's clever enough to tease his readers without taking his eyes off the road. Jacobson was once again nominated for the Man Booker Prize in 2014 with J. Set in a near future; it focuses on a love story set against the backdrop of a terrible incident, one that must not be discussed at any cost.

Shylock Is My Name, 2016
Finally in 2016 Jacobson reimagined Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice in Shylock Is My Name. Following Jeanette Winterson’s The Gap of Time, it is part of the Hogarth Project that sees Shakespeare’s texts retold by bestselling novelists for today’s modern audiences.
Novels by Howard Jacobson:
Peeping Tom, 1984
Redback, 1986
The Very Model of a Man, 1992
No More Mister Nice Guy, 1998
The Mighty Walzer, 1999
Who's Sorry Now?, 2002
The Making of Henry, 2004
Kalooki Nights, 2006
The Act of Love, 2008
The Finkler Question, 2010
Zoo Time, 2012
J, 2014 
Shylock Is My Name, 2016

Related books

Peeping Tom (Paperback)

Peeping Tom (Paperback)

Howard Jacobson

Barney Fugleman has two major preoccupations in life: sex and literature. He is obsessed by the life and work of a man hailed by many as a genius of the nineteenth century. This curious propulsion drives him out of Finchley, and out of the life he shares with Sharon and her 'rampant marvellings', to Cornwall.

£8.99
The Act of Love (Paperback)

The Act of Love (Paperback)

Howard Jacobson

Felix Quinn calls himself a happy man. He is married to and adores the beautiful Marisa. But a childhood experience has taught him that loss is intrinsic to love, and Felix realises that he can only be truly happy if his wife is sleeping with another man. Enter Marius into Marisa's affections. And now Felix must ask himself, is he really happpy?

£8.99
The Finkler Question (Paperback)

The Finkler Question (Paperback)

Howard Jacobson




3 Reviews

WINNER OF THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE

£8.99
Who's Sorry Now (Paperback)

Who's Sorry Now (Paperback)

Howard Jacobson

Marvin Kreitman lives for sex, or at least he lives for women. Charlie Merriweather, on the other hand, loves just the one woman, also called Charlie. Once a week, the two friends meet for a Chinese lunch, contriving never quite to have the conversation they would like to have - about fidelity and womanising, and which makes happier.

£8.99
The Mighty Walzer (Paperback)

The Mighty Walzer (Paperback)

Howard Jacobson

From the beginning, Oliver Walzel is a natural - at ping-pong; he can chop, flick and half-volley like a champion. At sex he is not a natural, but with tuition his game improves. This is the story of coming-of-age in 1950s Manchester.

£8.99
In the Land of Oz (Paperback)

In the Land of Oz (Paperback)

Howard Jacobson

The Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Finkler Question went Down Under - and this is what he found... The Sunday Times bestseller - over 50,000 copies sold of the original edition

£10.99
Zoo Time (Paperback)

Zoo Time (Paperback)

Howard Jacobson

The new novel from the author of The Finkler Question, winner of the Man Booker Prize 2010

£7.99
Kalooki Nights (Paperback)

Kalooki Nights (Paperback)

Howard Jacobson

Fixated on the crimes which have been committed against his people, but unable to live among them, Max moves away, and draws cartoon histories of Jewish suffering in which no one is much interested. He is drawn into the Holocaust obsessions from which he realises there can be, and should be, no release. This book is a comedy of cataclysm.

£8.99
J: A Novel (Paperback)

J: A Novel (Paperback)

Howard Jacobson

Two people fall in love, not yet knowing where they have come from or where they are going. They aren't sure if they have fallen in love of their own accord, or whether they've been pushed into each other's arms. But who would have pushed them, and why?

£8.99
Shylock is My Name: The Merchant of Venice Retold - Hogarth Shakespeare 2 (Hardback)

Shylock is My Name: The Merchant of Venice Retold - Hogarth Shakespeare 2 (Hardback)

Howard Jacobson

"Jacobson is quite simply a master of comic precision. He writes like a dream." - Evening Standard

£16.99 £12.99