The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson - review by Jonathan Beckman

Jonathan Beckman

Conversion Symptoms

The Finkler Question


Bloomsbury 307pp £18.99

The emancipation of Europe’s Jews in the wake of the French Revolution ought to have settled the status of Jews in society. But this supposed answer to the Jewish Question did not prevent – indeed, as Hannah Arendt argued, may have led to – the Final Solution, just as pan-European shame and solemn oaths of ‘never again’ have failed to extirpate anti-Semitism today. Jew hatred is as tenacious as the Jews themselves. In The Finkler Question Howard Jacobson considers the Jewish Question’s latest formulation: the complex and contested nexus of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism.

Julian Treslove is a melancholic sentimentalist whose highest pleasure would be for a girlfriend to die in his arms. Unsurprisingly he is a hapless lover of scrawny, bilious women, who slouches alone through middle age with two sons he barely knows and a job desultorily impersonating nobody in

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