Posted in Book Stuff

*Booker Prize

The Finkler Question has won the Booker. The author, Howard Jacobson, age 68, was born in Manchester. He is the author of 10 previous novels and an old hand at not winning. I’m cheering for him now.

From the NYT:

He accepted the award to unusually enthusiastic and sustained applause at an awards ceremony in London.

“I’m speechless,” he told the audience. “Fortunately, I prepared one earlier. It’s dated 1983. That’s how long the wait’s been.”

The Booker is given each year to a novel by an author in Britain, Ireland or one of the Commonwealth nations. The prize comes with a check for £50,000, or about $80,000, and a practically guaranteed jump in book sales and publicity.

It tells the story of two old friends, a BBC producer and a philosopher, who meet their former teacher for dinner. On the way home, one of them is robbed, which sets him on a comic journey of discovery about what it means to be Jewish.

I remember being told (in 2003) that “Jewish stories don’t sell in Britain.” I imagine this one is. Congratulations Mr. Jacobson. You give us all hope.

h/t Bookninja



Lilian is the author of Web of Angels, a novel about a mom with DID (multiple personalities). She's also the author of the historical novels, The River Midnight and The Singing Fire, about secrets, friendship and motherhood in 19th century Poland and London.

13 thoughts on “*Booker Prize

  1. I haven’t read this book but do hope it was a worthy winner – I’m sure I’ll read it when it comes out in paperback. That is a very sweet speech that he made! As for Jewish stories not selling in Britain, pshaw! That’s just another of these silly marketing rules. Who makes them up?

  2. I haven’t read it either as I haven’t been following the Booker this year, but I do like hearing Jacobson’s story. It’s nice when the person who wins isn’t one of the “big names” of the moment. Have you read any of his other work?

  3. Litlove, pshaw indeed! That is the perfect word. I need to repeat that one a few times.

    Verbivore, I haven’t read anything by him and now I’m curious to mainly because of his acceptance speech. I’ve got The Finkler Question on hold at the library, but I will pick up one of his earlier books.

  4. That’s two authors who have received belated recognition (if you include Llosa winning the Nobel prize). Will be interested to read both of them. Thanks for the links (and one of the beauties of book blogging is that I read the news here first).

  5. Jacobson’s novel is lovely, and one which is hilarious and poignant by turns – it deserves the Booker. Lilian, I am rereading “The River Midnight” as I do from time to time, and it is magical reading this time too. You are a remarkably gifted writer.

  6. Congrats to Howard Jacobson! I know nothing about him and have never read him, but it seems fitting that he should win. And now that I know who he is, I can read one of his novels!

  7. It’s always lovely when someone receives such significant recognition after such sustained toil. Good for him – I daresay it’s already flying off the shelves.

  8. Cate, thanks so much. 🙂 The new one is quite different in some ways, because it has a contemporary urban setting, but it reflects the same concerns, the same values, and the same sense of the spiritual.

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