Saturday, October 2, 2010

Questions of belonging

An evocative novel about the search for meaning and coherence in our chaotic lives…

A “story waiting for a plot” describes Julian Treslove, the protagonist of The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson. Treslove's sense of ambiguity about life in general is underlined by his profession; i.e. he harnesses his indistinctive good looks to play various celebrity lookalikes. The plot that finally propels his story begins with a seemingly small incident that occurs one night, after he dines with his two closest friends, Sam Finkler and Libor Sevcik.

Different shades
Finkler and Sevcik are both Jews who have been recently widowed, but there the similarity ends. Nonagenarian Sevcik, once a teacher to the other two, is open-minded, stable, faithful. Though his former job of reporting on Hollywood celebrities placed him on friendly terms with such glamorous stars as Marilyn Monroe, he remained dedicated to his late wife Malkie. Finkler, less faithful in more ways than one, is a hugely popular pop psychologist and — shades of Alain de Botton — author of such books as The Existentialist in the Kitchen.

Full review here Hindu

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