The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson

Winner of the 2010 Booker Prize, The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson has had many reviews and you will be able to find much better analysis than mine elsewhere on the interwebs. I always feel that I should read the novels on the Booker shortlist each year and, usually, I will get to read at least a couple, including the winner. And so, The Finkler Question found its way on to my shelves. I’d seen the blurb:

Julian Treslove, a former BBC worker, and Sam Finkler, a Jewiish philosopher, writer and television personality, are old school friends. Despite very different lives, they’ve never lost touch with each otehr – or with their former teacher, Libor Sevcik, a Czech more concerned with the wider world than with exam results.

It’s the kind of story line that would probably have led me to purchase the book irrespective of the Booker listing so I was looking forward to reading it and, initially, it got off to a good start. I should confess that I’m not a fan of comedy so although some of the vignettes in the novel amused me, (like Libor’s date in Chapter 2, section 2) gradually I found that I was reading more slowly – sometimes only a page or two a day and that’s usually not a good sign. It’s the reader’s equivalent of writer’s block. It prevents you enjoying the current book and delays moving on to the next one. For me, The Finkler Question was almost a 6-week hiatus. I have no doubt that there are plenty of readers who will enjoy the novel more than I did. For me, I was relieved to get to the end and to move on to something that would have me turning the pages with more enthusiasm.