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J: A Novel (Anglais) Relié – 14 août 2014


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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

"To say J is unlike any other novel Jacobson has written would be misleading: the same ferocious wit runs throughout. That said, comparisons do not do full justice to Jacobson's achievement in what may well come to be seen as the dystopian British novel of its times." (John Burnside Guardian)

"A snarling, effervescent and ambitious philosophical work of fiction. Jacobson's triumph is to craft a novel that is poignant as well as troubling." (James Kidd Independent)

"Jacobson once jokingly referred to himself as a Jewish Jane Austen. Here he reinvents himself as a Jewish Aldous Huxley - and displays mastery in the role." (Max Davidson Mail on Sunday)

"Jacobson has crafted an immersive, complex experience with care and guile." (Anthony Cummins Observer)

"J is a remarkable achievement: an affecting, unsettling - and yes, darkly amusing - novel." (Matthew Adams National)

"A provocatively dystopian novel that depicts a disturbingly nice world." (Sunday Times)

"Jacobson.goes from strength to strength." (William Leith Evening Standard)

"Mystifying, serious and blackly funny." (Max Liu Independent on Sunday)

"Sufficient testament to a writer who is.producing some of his most powerful work." (Irish Independent)

"A subtle, topical, thought-provoking and painfully uncomfortable novel." (John Sutherland The Times)

"You can't help feeling that this is an important book, and it's hugely compelling. Worthy of its status as a Booker long-listee." (Emma Herdman UK Press Syndication)

"Very little about Jacobson's circuitous romance-cum-murder mystery is straightforward - other than its originality and its devastating brilliance." (Stephanie Cross Daily Mail)

"Jacobson's most significantly Jewish book and quite possibly his masterpiece." (Standpoint)

"The persistent reader will be duly rewarded, as the denouement reveals a hidden logic and the book climaxes with a brilliant literary (and philosophical) coup." (Sunday Business Post)

"Contemporary literature is overloaded with millenarian visions of destroyed landscapes and societies in flames, but Jacobson has produced one that feels frighteningly new by turning the focus within: the ruins here are the ruins of language, imagination, love itself." (Tim Martin Daily Telegraph)

"The savagery of his imagery and his conclusions are impossible to forget, and maybe even to deny." (Herald)

"Confounds expectations but confirms Jacobson's reputation." (New Statesman)

"I loved this book. A compelling tale that is bound to be a hot contender for the Booker." (Rebecca Wallersteiner Lady)

"Impressive, disturbingly timely - a massive step aside and a noticeable step up from most of his other fiction." (Bharat Tandon Times Literary Supplement)

"A pivotal - and impressive change of direction for [Jacobson]." (Gerald Isaaman UK Press Syndication)

"Sentence by sentence, he remains perhaps the best British author around." (James Walton Spectator)

"This is Jacobson at his provocative, surprising, brilliant best." (Kate Saunders Saga Magazine)

"Thrilling written and the most ambitious work on the shortlist. Once you've worked out what's going on, you'll be gripped by its hints of an anti-Semitic armageddon." (Mail on Sunday)

"A mighty novel." (Observer)

"It's stark and daring." (Gaby Wood Telegraph)

Présentation de l'éditeur

Shortlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize

Shortlisted for the 2014 Goldsmiths Prize

Set in the future - a world where the past is a dangerous country, not to be talked about or visited - J is a love story of incomparable strangeness, both tender and terrifying.

Two people fall in love, not yet knowing where they have come from or where they are going. Kevern doesn't know why his father always drew two fingers across his lips when he said a word starting with a J. It wasn't then, and isn't now, the time or place to be asking questions. Ailinn too has grown up in the dark about who she was or where she came from. On their first date Kevern kisses the bruises under her eyes. He doesn't ask who hurt her. Brutality has grown commonplace. They aren't sure if they have fallen in love of their own accord, or whether they've been pushed into each other's arms. But who would have pushed them, and why?

Hanging over the lives of all the characters in this novel is a momentous catastrophe - a past event shrouded in suspicion, denial and apology, now referred to as What Happened, If It Happened.

J is a novel to be talked about in the same breath as Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World, thought-provoking and life-changing. It is like no other novel that Howard Jacobson has written.



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Amazon.com: 24 commentaires
20 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
thought provoking and disquieting 11 septembre 2014
Par Audrey Schoeman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Confession time: I wasn't a fan of The Finkler Question. It is probably a book I should revisit, but when it came out I found it deeply depressing as opposed to the comic work it was hailed as. So initially the feelings of upset which J stirred in me led me to suspect that I just wasn't a Howard Jacobson fan. Different strokes for different folks, right? Maybe not. As I got further into the book, the thought entered my head that perhaps this dystopian novel was deliberately unsettling. That it was making me pull back (while drawing me in) on purpose. After all, surely the best dystopian fiction will always strike a little too close to home? I don't think I will ever love Jacobson's style: I won't be waiting eagerly for his next offering. But this was a thought provoking, superbly crafted read, fan or not.
18 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Nebulous 22 août 2014
Par Helen - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle
This is a difficult novel to enjoy. Firstly, it deals with a dystopian society where the reasons for that dystopia are incredibly uncomfortable. Of course, good dystopian novels SHOULD make you uncomfortable as a reader so perhaps it's reading it against the backdrop of current world events that struck such a disharmonious chord within me. Secondly, it takes a very long time for the reasons behind the society created in J to become clear. There are very good reasons for Jacobson writing in this manner and the cloudy WHAT HAPPENED, IF IT HAPPENED events that have made things the way they are. However, even though it's intentional to be fumbling around through the chapters and trying to work out what's happening, it made the story, the characters and the writing all far too nebulous. I spent far more time attempting to decipher the clues than appreciating the novel. I should probably go back and re-read it now I know the truth but, in reality, I know I won't.
13 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
IS ANOTHER BOOKER PRIZE IN THE OFFING? 14 août 2014
Par the GreatReads! - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle
Author Howard Jacobson won the Booker Prize in 2010 for The Finkler Question. His latest work which is simply titled J is on the longlist for this year's prize. I was doubtful of his chances of scoring a double but after reading J, I'm not too sure anymore.

J by Howard Jacobson is a speculative fiction novel with a subtle post-apocalyptic setting with the romance between the two main protagonists Ailinn Solomons and Kevern Cohen both gentle and terrifying. It is a strange society where the letter `J' is rarely used, though not prohibited by law. The situation is such that Kevern is unable to utter a word containing the letter without making a gesture - covering his lips with his fingers.

Howard Jacobson's characters are well-conceived, though at times they border on the unthinkable. The plot has surprises, and this makes for an effortless reading which is one major plus-point of the book. The wordplay of the author is quite brilliant, occasionally superb. The culture and norms of the society inhabited by the characters are a bit weird. Perceptive and engaging, J by Howard Jacobson is an impressive novel with its delightful lightheartedness in the midst of a grim setting.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
We are asked to reflect on reasons for anti-Semitism and acknowledge hatred against the Other as part of human existence. 30 octobre 2014
Par Bookreporter - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
In a 2013 speech entitled “When Will the Jews be Forgiven the Holocaust?” Man Booker Prize-winning British novelist and critic Howard Jacobson (THE FINKLER QUESTION) offered at least a partial explanation for why virulent hatred of the Jewish people continues to exist and, ominously, is growing in parts of Europe. “Those we harm, we blame,” he observed, “mobilizing dislike and even hatred in order to justify, after the event, the harm we did. From which it must follow that those we harm the most --- we blame the most.” Jacobson’s chilling question and its paradoxical answer lie at the heart of J, his new Man Booker Prize shortlisted novel --- part dystopian allegory, part love story --- that deploys the tools of fiction to illumine that troubling phenomenon without abandoning the novelist’s paramount obligation to tell an emotionally honest story.

Although the time and place in which it is set are never made explicit, J seems to take place a couple of generations hence in a country whose geography and culture don’t feel all that far removed from present-day Great Britain. The society has endured some form of mass extermination or exile that’s referred to only as WHAT HAPPENED, IF IT HAPPENED (Jacobson’s typography), reflecting a desire to bury all memory of the event. Equally ambiguous is the identity of the “aloof, cold-blooded” victims, whose “loyalty is solely to each other,” though the following description could hardly be more suggestive:

“Imaginatively, the story of their annihilation engrosses them; let them enjoy a period of peace and they conjure war, let them enjoy a period of regard and they conjure hate. They dream of their decimation as hungry men dream of banquets. What their heated brains cannot conceive, their inhuman behavior invites. ‘Kill us, kill us. Prove us right.”

Into this unsettling milieu, Jacobson introduces his protagonists: Ailinn Solomons, a beautiful 25-year-old who fashions paper flowers and her lover, Kevern “Coco” Cohen, a woodturner who specializes in producing lovespoons, and at age 40 already is experiencing “early-onset middle age.” They inhabit the small seaside village of Port Reuben, and like all citizens in a world where most people wear black and the predominant emotional color appears to be gray, they bear Jewish surnames. That’s the result of a program called Operation Ishmael, “that great beneficent name change to which the people ultimately gave their whole-hearted consent,” to ensure that “tracing lineage is not only as good as impossible, it is unnecessary.”

It gradually becomes clear that Ailinn and Kevern may have a larger destiny (one they sense dimly, at best) than the one inherent in their domestic relationship. Kevern’s movements are shadowed by a fellow teacher and artist named Edward Everett Phineas Zermansky and Detective Inspector Gutkind, who suspects Kevern of a double murder. Ailinn’s older friend, Esme Nussbaum, urges her back into the relationship with Kevern when it falters briefly early in the novel.

Unlike Orwell’s 1984, Jacobson only hints at the more authoritarian elements of his imagined world. People are “only prevented from leaving the country (or indeed from entering it) for their own good,” while reading groups are licensed, “allowed access to books not otherwise available (not banned, just not available).” In one of the novel’s most disturbing scenes, Kevern and Ailinn conclude a trip to the capital city (bitterly nicknamed “the Necropolis” by Kevern’s father), with a visit to a neighborhood their taxi driver describes as the one “where the Cohens lived.” When Kevern exclaims, “The Cohens! I’m a Cohen,” the driver replies, “No, I mean real Cohens,” and the erasure of what once was a vibrant community becomes frighteningly tangible. “They have the air of living lives on someone else’s grave,” Kevern says of the neighborhood’s inhabitants, his elegiac comment aptly summing up the novel’s predominant mood.

Despite that somber tone, J isn’t lacking occasional flashes of Jacobson’s well-known wit. Describing Kevern’s lovemaking technique, Ailinn says, “It’s as though you’re on a tourist visa. Just popping in to take a look around.” The novel’s concluding section opens with an excerpt from satirist Allan Sherman’s song “Shake Hands With Your Uncle Max,” which features a litany of Jewish surnames sung to the tune of an Irish ditty.

To the question he posed in his B’nai B’rith address, Jacobson proposed the haunting answer, “Never.” With no little amount of grace and considerable subtlety, he asks us to reflect, not only on the reasons for the persistence of anti-Semitism (and by extension other forms of ethnic animus), but also to acknowledge the harsh truth that hatred of the Other seems an inescapable fact of human existence, one that will persist until the day we’re no longer inhabiting this planet.

Reviewed by Harvey Freedenberg
4 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
"What happened, if it happened." 14 octobre 2014
Par Amelia Gremelspacher - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Perhaps I cannot be blamed for returning over and over to thoughts of the Holocaust as this darkly brilliant novel unravels the fabric of a society determined to forget the past by law. No one is to remember the great brutality of a war gone by as if to examine it would resurrect more hatred in the opposing views of thought and blame. There are dark references to trains and selections, ruined cities, and toppled economies of greed and affluence.

In Kervin's small town, the people congratulate themselves on their distance from the turmoil of the past and of the large cities. In the Ishmael law, itself a gifted riff on a doomed pseudonym, everyone has taken a new name. Heirlooms are limited. Everyone says sorry all the time. Yet the village is haunted with violence and unions are rarely monogamous. Fights are common. No one says J without a gesture across the lips. No one notes history. Kervin is a remarkable man, a Cohen unable to drop the significance of this made up name. He has fallen in love with Ailleen and it is their very temperance that does not allow them to give lip service to the inanities of the new civilization, thus cursing themselves in their small world.

The writing is perplexing and often labyrinthine. The sense of unease and of being followed never abates. The irony of a society willed to a civility that never holds is ironic in the extreme. Yet this is a novel that brings to mind every denier, every person who is determined to bury the past, and every book that shades hatreds of history. It is not so very far to venture from this book to any determinedly pleasant day in the many blood soaked sands of the world. Yet the main characters remain vibrant in contrast and their determination to be human brings balm to the reader. I find this to be an inspired piece of fiction and one I will not forget.
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