Books by Howard Jacobson
NPR stories about Howard Jacobson
Howard Jacobson's new novel, Zoo Time, is the comic tale of a frustrated writer, tormented by the women in his life and struggling to finish his novel in a disintegrating publishing industry. Reviewer Alan Cheuse says the book, sadly, is nowhere near as funny as it's trying to be.
In Howard Jacobson's 1999 novel The Mighty Walzer, which is now being published in the U.S., 14-year-old Oliver Walzer wins friends and confidence by playing table tennis. That is, he wins as much confidence as one can from playing pingpong.
Literary critics have called him the British Philip Roth, but Howard Jacobson prefers to think of himself as a "Jewish Jane Austen." His books are renowned for their biting social commentary — and his Booker prize-winning novel, The Finkler Question, is no exception.
This week's paperbacks take on big questions: what it means to be Jewish; how a woman disfigured by polio became an iconic photographer; how medicine is blurring the boundary between life and death; and what we can do to improve America's schools.
The hero of this year's Booker Prize winner, The Finkler Question, is a non-Jew fascinated by Jewishness. For writer David Sax, these efforts to simulate Judaism — to take on a persona outside of one's own — offer a broader commentary on human experience.