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Jacobson’s Novel Longlisted

Our official Man Booker nominee

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Howard Jacobson.(ManBookerPrize/Flickr)

The Man Booker Prize longlist is like the Oscar Best Picture nominees, except it has 13 names, it’s British, and it’s about books. But it is a big deal over there (for gambling purposes, among others), and it just so happens that, when this year’s longlist dropped yesterday, one name stuck out: Howard Jacobson and his The Finkler Question. (Incidentally, the notable snub was Martin Amis’s The Pregnant Widow.)

This is not just because he is Jewish! Jacobson was a podcast guest of ours two years ago, when he discussed his previous novel, Kalooki Nights (which was also longlisted). At the time, Jacobson—who has been called the “British Philip Roth”—was explaining why he had written another Jewish-themed novel after having sworn not to.

Did he live up to his oath for The Finkler Question? Well, if this review is any indication (and if the title is any other), the theme of Jewishness does, shall we say, come up in the novel. The shortlist will be revealed in September, the winner announced in October.

Man Booker Prize Announces Long List [Arts Beat]
Related: The Solipsist

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Arnon says:

“The shortlist will be revealed in September, the winner announced in October.”

He will not win.

First he is a Jew and Jews rarely win.

Second, he is an outspoken supporter of Israel.

Third he has also criticized antisemitism in English intellectual life.

All of this adds up to his not winning.

Arnon says:

More on the brave Jacobson:

“Howard Jacobson, whose new novel The Finkler Question has just been longlisted for the Booker Prize, writing in the Jewish Chronicle and on top form. Do read the piece. It has some very pertinent observations on the ‘poisoned playlet’ of Caryl Churchill; and also this statement of the obvious, one part of whose obviousness is regularly disregarded by those who embrace its other part:

Let’s get something out of the way. I don’t think that being critical of Israel makes anyone an antisemite. Only a fool would think it does.

But only a fool would think it follows that criticism of Israel can never be antisemitic, or that anti-Zionism isn’t a haven in which antisemitism is sometimes given leave to flourish.”

Arnon says:

And here is the interview:

“Anti-Zionism – facts (and fictions)Criticism of the Jewish state can often stem from an anti-Jewish state of mind, even when the the critics are Jews” By Howard Jacobson, July 28, 2010

Very nice article. Thanks a lot for this! I wanted to let you know though, this may be something that you care about but… your rss feed url is not working.

Are you having a Blond day?

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A little government and a little luck are necessary in life; but only a fool trusts either of them. – P.J. O’Rourke


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Jacobson’s Novel Longlisted

Our official Man Booker nominee

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