Author(s): Howard Jacobson
'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, a professionally unspectacular and disappointed BBC worker, and Sam Finkler, a popular Jewish philosopher, writer and television personality, are old school friends. Despite a prickly relationship and very different lives, they've never quite lost touch with each other - or with their former teacher, Libor Sevick, a Czechoslovakian always more concerned with the wider world than with exam results.
Now, both Libor and Finkler are recently widowed, and with Treslove, his chequered and unsuccessful record with women rendering him an honorary third widower, they dine at Libor's grand, central London apartment. It's a sweetly painful evening of reminiscence in which all three remove themselves to a time before they had loved and lost; a time before they had fathered children, before the devastation of separations, before they had prized anything greatly enough to fear the loss of it. Better, perhaps, to go through life without knowing happiness at all because that way you had less to mourn?
Treslove finds he has tears enough for the unbearable sadness of both his friends' losses. And it' s that very evening, at exactly 11-30pm, as Treslove hesitates a moment outside the window of the oldest violin dealer in the country as he walks home, that he is attacked. After this, his whole sense of who and what he is will slowly and ineluctably change.
The Finkler Question is a scorching story of exclusion and belonging, justice and love, ageing, wisdom and humanity. Funny, furious, unflinching, this extraordinary novel shows one of our finest writers at his brilliant best.
The Sunday Times bestseller (#2) The New York Times bestseller (#9) WINNER OF THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2010 Over 300,000 copies sold to date
Winner of Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2010
'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? ... The Finkler Question is further proof, if any was needed, of Jacobson's mastery of humour' The Times Wonderful ... Jacobson is seriously on form' Evening Standard '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' Daily Telegraph 'Full of wit, warmth, intelligence, human feeling and understanding. It is also beautifully written with that sophisticated and near invisible skill of the authentic writer' Observer
An award-winning writer and broadcaster, Howard Jacobson was born in Manchester, brought up in Prestwich and was educated at Stand Grammar School in Whitefield, and Downing College, Cambridge, where he studied under F. R. Leavis. He lectured for three years at the University of Sydney before returning to teach at Selwyn College, Cambridge. His novels include The Mighty Walzer (winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize), Kalooki Nights (longlisted for the Man Booker Prize) and, most recently, the highly acclaimed The Act of Love. Howard Jacobson lives in London.