The Finkler Question

by Howard Jacobson Fiction

  • UK Bloomsbury Publishing (2010, Ed. Michael Fishwick, 320 pages)
  • US Bloomsbury Publishing (Ed. George Gibson)

He should have seen it coming. His life had been one mishap after another. So he should have been prepared for this one...

Julian Treslove and Sam Finkler are old friends, Libor Sevcik their former teacher. Both Libor and Finkler are recently widowed, and with Treslove, his chequered history rendering him as an honorary third widower, they share a sweetly painful reminiscing about a time before they had loved and lost. And it’s that very evening that Treslove, hesitating a moment as he walks home, is attacked—and his whole sense of who and what he is forever changed.

A scorching story of exclusion and belonging, ageing, wisdom and humanity, this funny furious unflinching novel is Jacobson at his brilliant best.

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The Finkler Question
Mr. Jacobson doesn’t just summon Roth; he summons Roth at Roth’s best.

Janet Maslin The New York Times Review of Books

The Finkler Question, which is as provocative as it is funny, as angry as it is compassionate, offers a moving testimony to a dilemma as ancient as the Old Testament.

Alan Taylor Scottish Herald

Jacobson's prose is a seamless roll of blissfully melancholic interludes.

Christian House The Independent

The Finkler Question is further proof, if any was needed, of Jacobson’s mastery of humour.

Matthew Syed The Times

Jacobson is seriously on form.

William Leith Evening Standard

Exhilaration all the way.

Tom Adair The Scotsman

The Finkler Question is a terrifying and ambitious novel, full of dangerous shallows and dark, deep water

Alex Clarke Guardian

...as all serious artists do, he is mining his immediate milieu as a way of directly unearthing the deeper questions of family, society, belief, culture, relationships – the underlying nature of humanity.

Edward Docx Observer

A real giant … a great, great writer.

Jonathan Safran Foer

Humour, insight and chutzpah pepper this fictional foray into what it means to be Jewish

Gerald Jacobs Daily Telegraph

How is it possible to read Howard Jacobson and not lose oneself in admiration for the music of his language, the power of his characterisation and the penetration of his insight?

Matthew Syed The Times

Sentence by sentence, there are few writers who exhibit the same unawed respect for language or such a relentless commitment to re-examining even the most seemingly unobjectionable of received wisdoms. No wonder that, as with most of Jacobson’s novels, you finish The Finkler Question feeling both faintly exhausted and richly entertained

James Walton Daily Telegraph

At the heart of the book is Julian the wannabe Jew, a wonderful comic creation precisely because he is so tragically touching in his haplessness… a richly satisfying read.

Adam Lively Sunday Times

Jacobson’s prose is a seamless roll of blissfully melancholic interludes. Almost every page has a quotable, memorable line.

Christian House Independent on Sunday

The writing is wonderfully mobile, and inventive, and Jacobson’s signature is to be found in every sentence … A remarkable work.

Anthony Julius Jewish Chronicle

A novel of enormous scope, humour and intelligence.

Rosie Boycott, The Guardian

Touching and sardonic

Katy Guest, The Independent

Quintessential Howard Jacobson, funny, subtle, provocative and quietly moving.

David Robson