‘This book is Jacobson’s masterpiece’ Jonathan Freedland
'A work of genius' A.C. Grayling, The Times
Wild, angry and uproarious, Kalooki Nights is a darkly comic, timely novel of what it means to be human.
Max Glickman is son to an atheist boxer, Jack 'The Jew' Glickman, and a glamorous card-playing mother. Growing up in the peace and security of the 1950s Manchester suburbs, the word 'extermination' haunts his vocabulary and Nazis lurk in his imagination.
When his childhood friend Manny is released from prison, the tug of religion and history proves too strong to be ignored and Max must accept there is no refuge from the dead...
'Raging, contentious, hilarious, holy, deicidal, heart-breaking’ Sunday Telegraph
In this age of lazy reviewing, facile judgment and inflated rhetoric, how is one to convey news of the arrival of a work of genius? This powerful, troubling, moving, profound novel is nothing less. Its architecture - more accurately: its engineering, the construction of it - is a feat of brilliance, so sustained and accurate is it, and yet this is the least of its merits. What really steals one's breath away is its sharpness and depth of insight - a sharpness that flays, and a depth almost too vertiginous to describe - and the remorseless tragedy it unfolds, even as it makes one laugh aloud, sometimes in shock. It is the most intelligent and important novel to appear in this country in years.
Howard Jacobson's gifts as a novelist of the first rank, not just in England, but in English, are well known. He is a master of the language, whose piercing eye makes him the most excoriating as well as the wittiest of writers. Equally to the point, he is one of that small group of authors whose superiority to the average seems to put him well beyond the competence of Booker and Whitbread judges; it is as if winning any such prize would be a diminution of his stature, for he is in a different league, and this novel proves it... It is, to repeat and to repeat plainly, a work of genius.
Trying to crack that opening line? Got a first novel lingering in a drawer? This year, on penguin.co.uk and the Penguin Podcast, we've chatted to lots of authors about their craft. Here's some highlights to give you a helping hand.
'I wrote Pussy thinking only of how vexed I would be if I didn't write it'. Man Booker prize winner Howard Jacobson on the 'rush of passion' that drove him to pen his Trump-inspired novella.