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The Finkler Question [Format Kindle]

Howard Jacobson
2.3 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (3 commentaires client)

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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

Julian Treslove, a professionally unspectacular former BBC radio
producer, and Sam Finkler, a popular Jewish philosopher, writer and
television personality, are old school friends. Despite very different
lives, they've never quite lost touch with each other - or with their
former teacher, Libor Sevcik. Both Libor and Finkler are recently
widowed, and together with Treslove they share a sweetly painful evening
revisiting a time before they had loved and lost. It is that very
evening, when Treslove hesitates a moment as he walks home, that he is
attacked - and his whole sense of who and what he is slowly and
ineluctably changes.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 791 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 321 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 1408808870
  • Editeur : Bloomsbury Publishing; Édition : 1 (29 juillet 2010)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 2.3 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (3 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°54.603 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires en ligne

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2.3 étoiles sur 5
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Un Woody Allen anglais 16 avril 2014
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Trois amis, deux hommes dans leur cinquantaine et leur ancien prof, deux veufs et un troisième incapable de rester avec une femme, deux juifs et un troisième qui rêve d'être un aussi! Une réflexion sur la judaïté, sur l'amour en couple, sur le succès, sur la paternité - et tout cela raconté par un personnage qui fait penser à Woody Allen. A recommander vivement!
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1.0 étoiles sur 5 je n'ai pas accroché 8 février 2013
Par Simonnet
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
J'ai aimé le style mais pas le fond.
c'est rare, mais je ne l'ai même pas fini !
bon courage à ceux qui le liront.
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1.0 étoiles sur 5 je ne sais pas comment il a gagne un prix 9 novembre 2013
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Il n'y a pas d'action, il y a simplement un homme qui pose des questions et change son avis sans cesse.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 2.9 étoiles sur 5  231 commentaires
339 internautes sur 363 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Brilliant novel of Jewish life in present day London 23 août 2010
Par Darryl R. Morris - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle
Julian Treslove is a 49 year old Gentile living in present day London whose life has been a series of disappointments: he has movie star good looks but can't seem to sustain a relationship with a woman for more than a few months; he was let go from his production job at the BBC for his overly morbid programs on Radio 3, a station known for its solemnity; and he has fathered two boys, who ridicule and despise him. Even worse, he compares poorly to his friend, rival, and former school classmate Sam Finkler, a pop philosopher, radio and television personality, and author of best selling books such as The Existentialist in the Kitchen and John Duns Scotus and Self Esteem: A Manual for the Menstruating, which have made him wealthy and respected, with a beautiful wife and three successful children.

However, the one thing that Julian desires most of all is to become Jewish, like Sam and their mutual friend and former teacher Libor Sevcik, a Czech whose tell all biographies of Hollywood starlets such as Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich have earned him fortune and notoriety. Julian refers to Jews as Finklers, after his friend, and frequently wonders how they think, why they are smarter and more successful than him, and how he can understand and be more like them. The three men engage in frequent discussion about Israel, Palestine, and Jewish life in London; understandably, Julian is always an outsider, despite his desire to become one with his friends.

Libor and Sam are contrasts in character. Libor is pro-Israel yet reasonable in his beliefs, whereas Sam is fervently anti-Zionist, and openly supports the Palestinian cause.

At the beginning of the novel, the three men meet for dinner at Sevcik's lavish apartment in Regent's Park. Their discussion is more somber than usual, as Libor and Sam have recently become widowed, and Julian acts as a honorary third widower. Julian refuses Sam's offer of a ride in his limousine, and decides to walk home. While gazing at violins in a store window he is suddenly attacked and robbed, and he convinces himself that his assailant has mistaken him for a Jew. Other than a broken nose and a loss of pride he isn't badly injured, but the crime and its aftermath lead him to examine who he is (is he Jewish after all?), and his relationships with his friends, women he has dated, and his two sons.

As the crisis in the Middle East worsens, acts of violence against Jews and their establishments in London become more common. Sam is invited to join a group, which he co-opts and renames ASHamed Jews, which engages in verbal warfare against supporters of the state of Israel. Through his close friendships with Libor, Sam and other Jews of various backgrounds and beliefs that he meets, Julian becomes more exposed to their lives, in his fervent attempt to answer "The Finkler Question": what does it mean to be Jewish in the 21st century?

"The Finkler Question" touches on a number of other vital and compelling topics: men and their relationships to each other; male competition; the insecurity of middle aged men and women; infidelity; and multiculturalism in the modern society. Jacobson deftly weaves these topics throughout this brilliant novel, which is filled with humor and pathos. This is definitely one of my favorite novels of the year, and it replaces The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet as my favorite of the current list of Booker Prize finalists.
116 internautes sur 132 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Angst it is 26 octobre 2010
Par knitreader - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
If you love mid-career Woody Allen, you might love this book. You might also love it if you're into angst and want to read many pages about people full of angst, who spend their waking hours worrying about angst, wondering what to do about their angst (or, indeed, whether to do anything at all), asking who's to blame for all that angst, trying (and mostly failing) to find a meaning in angst, even questioning whether their angst is real or whether they're imagining it. All that angst is, of course, finally, about being Jewish (or not). No one, not even Jews, spends 90 percent of his waking hours thinking about being Jewish.

The writing really is very good, and there's genuine humor to be found here. There are also sharp observations of current behavior in some of the peripheral events. However, the characters seem to have been created mostly to represent various "types"--they verge on being stock characters who rarely, if ever, come fully to life. The women are, I think, better drawn, but they exist mostly as foils for the men, who chug through life debating with themselves and occasionally with each other--mostly about angst. Their relationships, even with each other, seem barely skin deep, and I was unable to establish a relationship with any of them.

No one seems to get anywhere--at least nowhere he could explain to himself--and perhaps that's the point. For me, however, it's not a point worth all those pages to make. The only other point seems to be to say that Jews are still whining and kvetching, and that's a point I neither agree with nor approve of.
92 internautes sur 106 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 What it means to be Jewish in 21st century Britain - with added self-analysis 27 septembre 2010
Par Ripple - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle
Julian Treslove is a middle aged former BBC radio producer now working as a professional look alike but quite who he looks like varies. Although never married, he has fathered two sons, neither of whom he sees regularly. Dismissed from the BBC for being too morbid on his late night Radio 3 programme (particularly difficult as Radio 3 is known for it's morbid tone and programming), he is given to depressing levels of self-analysis in his small flat that's not quite in Hampstead, London. What Treslove lacks is a sense of belonging and this, he notes his Jewish friends have in spades, particularly his old school friend and rival, the best-selling philosopher and TV personality, Sam Finkler. Treslove, by contrast, always feels on the outside of life.

When the book starts Treslove is again excluded as Finkler and their mutual friend and former teacher, Libor Sevcik, an elderly Jewish Czech, have both been widowed. Although the two Jewish friends have differing political views on Zionism, Treslove sees them united in their Jewishness and their sense of mutual loss. So much does Treslove want to be like his friend Finkler, a term he uses to describe all Jewish people, and for a range of other amusing reasons, when he is attacked on the way home from Libor's flat one night, he is convinced that it is an anti-Semitic attack and that Treslove is, in fact, a Finkler himself and pursues the task of answering `The Finkler Question': what does it mean to be Jewish in the 21st century?

It's not hard to see why this book has caught the attention of this year's Man Booker judges who have short-listed it for the prize. It touches on a number of compelling subjects including middle age insecurity, male competition and friendship, death, infidelity, multiculturalism and of course religious faith and the implications of this on nation states. On top of that, it is beautifully written and often very funny both in a gentle way and at times in an angry and urgent manner. It reads very much like some of the works of the great American novelist Philip Roth, but with a more British dark humor to it, and that is high praise indeed in my book.

And yet, and yet.....

The problem I had with it is that it's a very difficult book to love because the central characters are so loathsome. The most sympathetic is the wise Libor, although arguably he is the most caricature-like of characters in the book. His story though is sad and wholly believable. Finkler himself is ambitious and craves the limelight to a detestable degree and as for Treslove, you just want to shake him into action. Given Finkler's character, I find it difficult to believe that he would have any truck with the pathetic Treslove who has taken self-analysis to a level of self-paralysis. Far from wanting to find out how his Jewish conversion was progressing, I found myself thinking more along the lines of `oi vey, he's off again. Enough with the navel gazing already'.

There's an inherent contradiction in arguing that you cannot stereotype a faith and then suggesting that this weight of self-analysis is a `Jewish thing'. Finkler himself joins a movement of ASHamed Jews, against Zionism, and yet while this is an important issue, little is made of the UN's judgements on Israel's actions.

I was left in two minds about it as a book. There's no denying the quality of the writing or the urgency of the subject, but for all the humour, the characters themselves are so dark and unlikeable, that it loses force and the net impact is a very dour read for such a book filled with so much genuine humour. How can this be? Well perhaps that's `The Finkler Question' question.
77 internautes sur 91 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Angst and identity 8 septembre 2010
Par S. McGee - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle
In many ways, Julian Treslove and Sam Finkler are polar opposites. If you looked up "hapless" in a dictionary, you'd probably find Treslove's photo displayed beside the definition: since his school days he has muddled through relationships and work, and while he has played his part in the birth of two sons, he can't be said to have been much of a father. He yearns after something more -- an identity, a purpose to his life. On the other hand, there's Finkler, his schoolfriend, who has become a popular television philosopher, had a long and reasonably successful marriage, and who remains a presence in the life of his three children. He's got an identity -- even if he seems intent on rejecting part of it by joining a group that dubs itself ASH-amed Jews. Jacobson's masterful and witty novel kicks off when Treslove is mugged after spending an evening condoling with two recent widowers, Finkler and the much-older Libor, a Czech refugee and their former teacher. His mugger mutters something that a distressed Treslove chooses to interpret as meaning she (yes, she!) believed him to be Jewish -- and once it's ensconced in his brain, Treslove can't let go of the idea. Surely, he truly is Jewish; his mugger spotted something about him that indicates he is one of the chosen. And if that is so, then surely self-confidence, identity and success will follow, as that seems to characteristic of all the "Finklers" that he knows?

And so begins Treslove's attempt to join "the Finklers". His bumbling efforts to become more Jewish than his friends and his new girlfriend are simultaneously poignant, hilarious and bizarre. Ultimately, this is a book about relationships -- the envious/admiring tie Treslove feels to Finkler, the links between parents and children, among men, between men and women, etc. It also deals with bigger issues in a way that never interferes with the narrative or the characters -- above all, with questions of identity, whether defined by oneself or by others, and how those impinge on our relationships with other.

This is easily one of the best novels I've read this year, and I'm rooting for it to walk away with the Man Booker Prize. I devoured it in a single day, unable to put it down even to eat meals, and relished Jacobson's deft character portrayals (even the minor characters, like an ex-girlfriend of Libor's from decades ago, are vividly presented and still linger in my mind weeks after I finished reading this) and slyly witty writing. Sure, it's about Jewish men living in London, and I'm a Gentile female living in the US -- but I loved it. Highly recommended.
33 internautes sur 38 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 I tried so hard to care, but couldn't. 23 janvier 2011
Par shoey - Publié sur
I am finishing this book strictly and ONLY because it won the Booker award and I've read them all. But I am perplexed. This truly seems a case of the Emperor's new clothes - why was this book chosen? I can only assume it was for political correctness. Thank goodness the writing is fantastic - Jacobson is wry and funny and his eeyore-ish Treslove is half-tolerable only for the humor of his confusion. The humor is helpful but it isn't preventing me being bored stiff. Granted I am a young, female, gentile American, so perhaps I just don't get it. Definitely I don't get it, but I'm not convinced there's much "it" to get. Reading this book feels like reading an angst-ridden teen's diary: endless self-indulgent delving into identity. Who am I? How can I know who I am? Why am I who I am? What does it all mean? What if I'm not really who I think I am? Is it okay to be who I am? Should I try to be someone else?..... are you bored yet? Me too.
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