Monday, November 30, 2015

J, by Howard Jacobson

I was looking forward to liking Howard Jacobson's J.  From the back cover, I'm told that Jacobson is a Man Booker Prize winner, and a Sunday Times review is quoted, saying J "invites comparison with George Orwell's 1984 and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World."  Wow!  Those two books were formative influences to me, so I just knew J would be a hit.

Well, J does invite comparison to those venerable novels, as in "Compared to the classic dystopian novels Brave New World and 1984, J doesn't hold a candle."  Jacobson's writing is unnecessarily obtuse and frustratingly evasive.  Many passages are lengthy, pointless dialogues which reminded me of those stage plays where nothing really happens but boy, do they ever talk a lot!

There's a love story in J.  SOMETHING HAPPENED IF IT HAPPENED.  What HAPPENED?  Some kind of genocide, even more successful than Hitler's.  I should probably read this again to get the whole social commentary.  But I don't want to.

Thanks to Blogging for Books for the complimentary review copy!

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