Two completely different books that I had waited in my TBR list managed to surface to the top and I decided to read them. August is a busy month and I had to find time to devote to them.
Finkler’s Question- A comedy on Jewishness won the Man Booker Prize in 2010. This is a clever and funny novel with dazzling prose that had laugh aloud moments in Part One of the book. Jewish identity is a theme that has been written about many a time. This book is exceptional. It is full of warmth, beautifully written and the main protagonist Julian Treslove is not a Jew but one who yearns to be Jewish.Two other characters are Sam Finkler and Libor Sevcik an older friend who was also their teacher.By posing the Jewish Question of identity Jacobson has debated the all the questions of culture, relationships, family and faith. I found Part 2 not as riveting as the earlier chapters. Reading it is an experience, making one laugh at the same time reflect and think about the issues that have been raised.
Sebastian Barry’s ‘A Long, Long Way’ is a poetic, lyrical novel that depicts the hopelessness of the First World War and the millions who laid down their lives. The novel is about a young lad Willie Dunne from Dublin whose innocence when he enlists is in stark contrast to his slow realization of the futility of war as his own country slides into the Easter Rising of 1916 and the struggle for loyalties become untenable. Barry’s strength lies in his language, it transports one to scenes of utter hell in no man’s land and shakes you to the core. The endless waste of human lives as wars continue to this day makes one wonder if man will ever learn. Not one for reading ‘war novels’ this was ‘unputdownable.’
I now look forward to his new book ‘On Canaan’s Side’as it takes the story of Dunne’s sister Lillie from 1916 to her new life in New York a tale of trauma and exile as the blurb says. Yes I’ll be reading it soon.
In my hands now is Alice Albinia’s ‘Leela’s Book’ the next on my reading list. How could I resist a book with my own first name? What a lovely cover too!