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Publisher's Summary

Man Booker Prize, Fiction, 2010

The Finkler Question is a scorching story of friendship and loss and of the wisdom and humanity of maturity. Funny, furious, unflinching, this extraordinary novel shows one of our finest writers at his brilliant best. Julian Treslove and Sam Finkler 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 Sevick. Now all three are recently widowed, in their own way, and spend sweetly painful evenings together reminiscing. Until an unexpected violent attack brings everything they thought they knew into question.

©2010 Howard Jacobson (P)2010 Recorded Books, LLC

What listeners say about Finkler Question

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Meh. This novel ends with a whimper.

When I started the Finkler Question, I had images of Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, Mel Brooks and Woody Allen floating in my head. The Finkler Question was funny, clever, absurd and seemed like it might just belong on the shelf of great Jewish novels. Unfortunately, this momentum didn't continue. FQ was still amusing, but the characters toward the end seemed a tad too cut-out and caricatured, the novel too formula-driven, and the prose too tired. It was looking for Herzog, but in the end found a book that could have been written by Jonathan Safran Foer (not a high compliment).

That doesn't mean I didn't like swaths of it. It just didn't possess enough sustained energy or original genius to justify the attention it got a couple years ago. A good book, just not a great novel.

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

melancholy but very good

This book really wonderfully written and wonderfully narrated. It's a book about ordinary, although very specific, individuals living in an ordinary setting of contemporary life. The main character thinks a lot, is obsessive, and we listen to his mind ruminating for most of the book. It's serious and believable and the characters in the book are really having fun for a while, although it's really a story of isolation, consequences and quite a bit of superstition. I liked it a lot. If you like novels that offer insight on the human condition, you will love this book.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Well written, just, a bit boring.

Jacobson is a strong writer but I think, unless you have any great investiture in London's Jewish community and the concepts of guilt and shame, then, like me, you will probably find this is a story that doesn't really go anywhere or do it quickly enough. Jacobson writes with some solid and subtle irony, but the narrator didn't help with consistent child-like interpretations in the speech.
I'm quite amazed it picked up the Booker. I didn't think the main character, Treslove, or the eponymous Finkler, were strong or different enough characters and didn't particularly care what happened to either. It did pick up a little in the final third with the Libor sub-plot but, even so, I found it came as a great relief when it was over.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Superb wit

One of the best reads of the year. I loved it. It's a classic piece, up there with the best English satirists. Timely.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Messed up chapters

The chapters on this recording are all messed up, goes 5 chapters, then returns to chapter 3 then runs through to 8 then repeats 7 and 8 before going through the epilogue only to return to chapter 11 again. I had to buy the book and follow a long to make sure I was in the actual chapter I was supposed to be.

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Technical difficulty needs to be fixed!

Was unable to download the audiobook, requested help but have not received a solution to the problem, not a happy subscriber!!! Please credit my purchase, will buy from another provider, thanks

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Tedious

What did you like best about Finkler Question? What did you like least?

Reader did an excellent performance reading multiple characters with skill and ease of audible identification.

Book rambles on far too long with little or no story - just a tedious analysis of its three main characters and their interactions.

What could Howard Jacobson have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Edited out at least half of it.

What about Steven Crossley’s performance did you like?

His skill in presenting the different characters in a pleasing and identifiable way.

Was Finkler Question worth the listening time?

No.

Any additional comments?

The judge[s] for awarding this the Booker Prize must have been [1] Jewish or [2] Insomniac[s]

1 person found this helpful