The Finkler Question raises many questions on morality, identity and friendship. Howard Jacobsoní¢ŒóŒ»s Man Booker Prize winning novel is witty and engaging but not an easy read.
Anyone who can write this line, í¢ŒóŒìDeath was his only serious rival,í¢ŒóŒ must be good.
And, honestly, I doní¢ŒóŒ»t find that funny.
Jacobson, while portraying a gentile and former BBC worker Julian Tresloveí¢ŒóŒ»s search for his imagined Jewish self in the company of his Jewish friends, gives an unconventional novel, a novel of political and moral relevance when pitted with todayí¢ŒóŒ»s realities.
Ití¢ŒóŒ»s about Jewishness but then it is much more than that.
In Jacobsoní¢ŒóŒ»s own words: í¢ŒóŒìThis (The Finkler Question) is a novel about love, loyalty, memory and loss. Mainly it is about the way these things impinge on person to person love, but it is also about the way they impinge upon ideas, and Israel is an important contemporary idea.í¢ŒóŒ
They say The Finkler Question is a comic novel but I find it deeply unsettling, and engaging in that sense. The fact that Jacobson is a Jew does not stop him mocking at the chosen people. But through Sam Finkler, the ashamed Jewish philosopher, Jacobson exposes the hypocrisy of those who hate Jewish people simply for being Jews and captures the fear of another wave of anti-Jewishness flowing from anti-Zionism.
The changing equations among the three friends í¢ŒóŒñ two Jews --Libor, Finkler -- and Gentile Treslove í¢ŒóŒñ,indeed, hold answers to our own dilemmas in this shifty world.