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So what if the attacker knows more than he does? That or be born and brought up a Nazi. Meanwhile, Finkler is on a very different trajectory. Howard Jacobson's publisher is brought to book. As this might suggest, The Finkler Question is quite a schematic novel, with the characters there primarily to embody the ideas that Jacobson wants to discuss.

The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson | Book review | Books | The Guardian

The Ashamed Jews get a merciless but extremely funny kicking throughout. By the end, in fact, the urgency of these messages is so unavoidable as to create the sense of a book that changed its own idea of what it should be as it went along — as if Jacobson had gradually decided that, in such perilous Jewish times, some things are more important than turning in a well-ordered novel.

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The spectacle of him letting rip remains as exhilarating as ever — and in any case, nobody will ever read his work for its decorous understatement. For some writers a thorough investigation of the situation of British Jews today might do as the subject for a single book. He also manages his customary — but not easy — trick of fusing all of the above with genuine comedy.

WARNING! Do not read Howard Jacobson's The Finkler Question unless...

And 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. Get the best at Telegraph Puzzles.

The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson

Julian Treslove and his fixations constitute the greatest portion of The Finkler Question beginning at the opening of the novel. As a teenager, Treslove visits a psychic who tells him that he will one day meet a woman named June or Juno and find both love and danger. For years Treslove weighs the prophecy and habitually falls in love with women whose names resemble June or Juno, always wondering if the current love is the fulfillment of the prophecy.

Fatalism and romanticism are both exaggerated in Treslove and have equal power over him, his girlfriends often leaving him because of this coupled set of traits.


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Recalling the mothers of his two children, Treslove thinks over the death arias of operas he used to sing with each woman. They both leave him without telling him they are pregnant yet also both name their sons after characters from the operas, Rudolpho and Alfredo.

The Finkler Question

Libor, Treslove, and Samuel Finkler discuss Israel and bond over the shared grief of recently losing their wives, which Treslove must imagine as he has never been married. After dinner, Treslove meanders on the streets of London near the BBC where he once worked, peering into storefront windows and reminiscing about his childhood.

Breaking into his reverie, someone comes close to Treslove and demands his valuables. He is assaulted in front of a music store, and mugged for his wallet, watch and cell-phone.