Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Finkler Question: Man Booker Prize for fiction 2010

Howard Jacobson’s novel The Finkler Question was named the winner of the £50,000 Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2010 on Tuesday 12 October at a dinner at London's Guildhall.
London author and columnist Howard Jacobson has been longlisted twice for the prize before, in 2006 for Kalooki Nights and in 2002 forWho’s Sorry Now, but has never before been shortlisted.

The Finkler Question is a scorching story of friendship and loss, exclusion and belonging, and of the wisdom and humanity of maturity. Said to have ‘some of the wittiest, most poignant and sharply intelligent comic prose in the English language’, The Finkler Question has been described as ‘wonderful’ and ‘richly satisfying’ and as a novel of ‘full of wit, warmth, intelligence, human feeling and understanding’.

Sir Andrew Motion, Chair of the judges, made the announcement from the awards dinner and Peter Clarke, Chief Executive of Man, presented Howard Jacobson with a cheque for £50,000.
Andrew Motion commented, ‘The Finkler Question is 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.’

The judging panel for the 2010 Man Booker Prize for Fiction was: Andrew Motion (Chair), former Poet Laureate; Rosie Blau, Literary Editor of the Financial Times; Deborah Bull, Creative Director of the Royal Opera House as well as a writer and broadcaster; Tom Sutcliffe, journalist, broadcaster and author; and Frances Wilson, biographer and critic.

The Finkler Question by 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 former BBC radio producer, 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 Sevcik, a Czech 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 have 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 11:30 pm, as Treslove, walking home, hesitates a moment outside the window of the oldest violin dealer in the country, that he is attacked. And after this, his whole sense of who and what he is will slowly and ineluctably change.

Funny, furious and unflinching, The Finkler Question is an extraordinary novel that shows one of our finest writers at his brilliant best.

Bloomsbury / Special price in India Rs 499

About the author
An award-winning writer and broadcaster, Howard Jacobson was born in Manchester, brought up in Prestwich and 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 the highly acclaimed The Act of Love.
Howard Jacobson lives in London.

The Finkler Question is published by Bloomsbury who are represented exclusively in India by Penguin Books India.

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