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J: A Novel
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Published:
Random House Publishing Group 2014
Lexile measure:
410L
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Description
Finalist for the 2014 Man Booker Prize
J is a snarling, effervescent, and ambitious philosophical work of fiction that poses unsettling questions about our sense of history, and our self-satisfied orthodoxies. Jacobson’s triumph is to craft a novel that is poignant as well as troubling from the debris.” —Independent (UK)

 
Man Booker Prize–winner Howard Jacobson’s brilliant and profound new novel, J, “invites comparison with George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World” (Sunday Times, London). Set in a world where collective memory has vanished and the past is a dangerous country, not to be talked about or visited, J is a boldly inventive love story, both tender and terrifying.
     Kevern Cohen doesn’t know why his father always drew two fingers across his lips when he said a word starting with a J. It wasn’t then, and isn’t now, the time or place to be asking questions. When the extravagantly beautiful Ailinn Solomons arrives in his village by a sea that laps no other shore, Kevern is instantly drawn to her. Although mistrustful by nature, the two become linked as if they were meant for each other. Together, they form a refuge from the commonplace brutality that is the legacy of a historic catastrophe shrouded in suspicion, denial, and apology, simply referred to as WHAT HAPPENED, IF IT HAPPENED. To Ailinn’s guardian, Esme Nussbaum, Ailinn and Kevern are fragile shoots of hopefulness. As this unusual pair’s actions draw them into ever-increasing danger, Esme is determined to keep them together—whatever the cost.
     In this stunning, evocative, and terribly heartbreaking work, where one couple’s love affair could have shattering consequences for the human race, Howard Jacobson gathers his prodigious gifts for the crowning achievement of a remarkable career.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
10/14/2014
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780553419573
ASIN:
B00N6PD31E
Lexile measure:
410
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Howard Jacobson. (2014). J: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Howard Jacobson. 2014. J: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Howard Jacobson, J: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group, 2014.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Howard Jacobson. J: A Novel. Random House Publishing Group, 2014. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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18f5db5d-2d62-5b2b-1c35-91ff50ae0e25
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 15:18:17
Date Updated:
Dec 08, 2020 19:07:22
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Nov 21, 2021 06:05:11
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Nov 21, 2021 06:05:14
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Aug 15, 2021 06:32:42
Last Grouped Work Modification Time:
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      • bioText: An author of fiction and non-fiction, Jacobson's previous novels include Man Booker-winner The Finkler Question, Zoo Time, and Kalooki Nights. Hogarth will also publish his forthcoming retelling of The Merchant of Venice as part of the Hogarth Shakespeare series. Jacobson is a columnist for The Independent and has worked as a professor and in television and radio broadcasting.
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Finalist for the 2014 Man Booker Prize
J is a snarling, effervescent, and ambitious philosophical work of fiction that poses unsettling questions about our sense of history, and our self-satisfied orthodoxies. Jacobson’s triumph is to craft a novel that is poignant as well as troubling from the debris.” —Independent (UK)

 
Man Booker Prize–winner Howard Jacobson’s brilliant and profound new novel, J, “invites comparison with George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World” (Sunday Times, London). Set in a world where collective memory has vanished and the past is a dangerous country, not to be talked about or visited, J is a boldly inventive love story, both tender and terrifying.
     Kevern Cohen doesn’t know why his father always drew two fingers across his lips when he said a word starting with a J. It wasn’t then, and isn’t now, the time or place to be asking questions. When the extravagantly beautiful Ailinn Solomons arrives in his village by a sea that laps no other shore, Kevern is instantly drawn to her. Although mistrustful by nature, the two become linked as if they were meant for each other. Together, they form a refuge from the commonplace brutality that is the legacy of a historic catastrophe shrouded in suspicion, denial, and apology, simply referred to as WHAT HAPPENED, IF IT HAPPENED. To Ailinn’s guardian, Esme Nussbaum, Ailinn and Kevern are fragile shoots of hopefulness. As this unusual pair’s actions draw them into ever-increasing danger, Esme is determined to keep them together—whatever the cost.
     In this stunning, evocative, and terribly heartbreaking work, where one couple’s love affair could have shattering consequences for the human race, Howard Jacobson gathers his prodigious gifts for the crowning achievement of a remarkable career.
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Matthew Spektor, New York Times Book Review
      • content: "Thrilling and enigmatic...[J's] subtle profundities and warm intelligence are Jacobson's own....its insistent vitality offers something more than horror: a vision of the world in which even the unsayable can, almost, be explained."
      • premium: False
      • source: Jenni Laidman, Chicago Tribune
      • content: "A masterwork of imagination flavored with grief."
      • premium: False
      • source: Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal
      • content: "A fascinating cautionary tale about the paradoxical dangers of assimilation and tranquility."
      • premium: False
      • source: John Burnside, Guardian
      • content: "Remarkable... Comparisons do not do full justice to Jacobson's achievement in what may well come to be seen as the dystopian British novel of its times."
      • premium: False
      • source: Independent (UK)
      • content: "J is a snarling, effervescent, and ambitious philosophical work of fiction that poses unsettling questions about our sense of history, and our self-satisfied orthodoxies. Jacobson's triumph is to craft a novel that is poignant as well as troubling from the debris."
      • premium: False
      • source: Shelf Awareness (starred)
      • content: "J delivers a gut punch of a plot twist that rests somewhere between hope and devastation. This is a major novel, a rare work that makes readers think as much as feel."
      • premium: False
      • source: Independent on Sunday (UK)
      • content: "Mystifying, serious, and blackly funny... J shows that, for a writer working at the peak of his powers, with the themes of his imagined future very much part of our present, laughter in the dark is the only kind."
      • premium: False
      • source: Jewish Chronicle
      • content: "Brilliant...J is a firework display of verbal invention, as entertaining as it is unsettling."
      • premium: False
      • source: Booklist (starred)
      • content: "Readers...will find plenty to think and talk about in Jacobson's remarkable, disturbing book."
      • premium: False
      • source: National (UK)
      • content: "J is a remarkable achievement: an affecting, unsettling--and yes, darkly amusing--novel that offers a picture of the horror of a sanitized world whose dominant mode is elegiac, but where the possibility of elegy is everywhere collectively proscribed."
      • premium: False
      • source: Telegraph (UK)
      • content: "Contemporary literature is overloaded with millenarian visions of destroyed landscapes and societies in flames, but Jacobson has produced one that feels frighteningly new by turning the focus within: the ruins here are the ruins of language, imagination, love itself."
      • premium: False
      • source: Observer (UK)
      • content: "[J]'s success owes much to the fine texture of its dystopia... As a conspiracy yarn examining the manipulation of collective memory, J has legs, and it's well worth its place on this year's Man Booker longlist... Jacobson has crafted an immersive, complex experience with care and guile."
      • premium: False
      • source: Evening Standard (UK)
      • content: "Jacobson...goes from strength to strength. This is a new departure: futuristic, dystopian, not, it seems, the world as we know it. But as we peer through the haze we see something take shape. It's horrible. It's monstrous. Read this for yourself and you'll see what it is."
      • premium: False
      • source: Lancet (UK)
      • content: "J is a rare combination of moral vision and subtle emotional intelligence...superb."
      • premium: False
      • source: Sunday Express (UK)
      • content: "A provocative dystopian fantasy to stack next to Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go, J has the kind of nightmarish twist which makes you want to turn back to page one immediately and read the whole thing again."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        October 13, 2014
        Jacobson' Booker prize shortlisted dystopian novel is a pastoralist's 1984. Set in a quiet village after a global cataclysm—referred to only as WHAT HAPPENED, IF IT HAPPENED—the novel is initially as much concerned about the eccentrics down at the pub as it is with explaining what befell humankind. It slowly emerges that generations previously, a global movement named Project Ishmael persuaded the survivors to rename themselves, as well as all of the world's places, in order to obliterate all memory of the apocalypse that nearly destroyed civilization. Esme Nussbaum, formerly an analyst with the mysterious Ofnow organization (charged with monitoring public mood), has moved to the village after a near-fatal accident, and befriended Ailinn Solomons, an orphan with no memories of her past. Esme maneuvers Ailinn into a relationship with Kevern Cohen, a local woodcarver who cannot utter the letter J without putting two fingers to his lips. Kevern and Ailinn fall in love, which suits Esme's mysterious reasons for bringing them together. When a woman from the village is found murdered, and Kevern becomes a suspect, this handful of individuals become a proxy for urgent global concerns. Jacobson's (The Finkler Question) fusion of village comedy and dystopian sci-fi is a tour de force, although in many ways the story Jacobson doesn't tell is more interesting than the one he does. The chilling sketch that finally coheres about the fate that has befallen humanity may make readers lament not having had a more straightforward approach. Nonetheless, fans of dystopian fiction will find this to be a unique entry in the genre.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from November 1, 2014
        Jacobson (The Finkler Question, 2010, etc.), Britain's answer to Philip Roth, returns with an enigmatic tale of the near future.Imagine The Children of Men appearing under the name of Fran Lebowitz, and you'll have some sense of the dislocation Jacobson's move from angst-y comedy to dystopian darkness might cause. Not that Jacobson's future is all bad: In fact, the coast of a land something like Wales or Cornwall is now peppered with places with names such as Port Reuben and home to people called Morvoren Steinberg and Esme Nussbaum, "an intelligent and enthusiastic thirty-two-year-old researcher employed by Ofnow, the non-statutory monitor of the Public Mood." For once, it seems, Jews have found a refuge and are not being killed in it, even if they're still not entirely at home there. Born into this world is Kevern Cohen, who, deeply in love with the alluring Ailinn Solomons, finds himself puzzling over why his father impulsively drew his fingers across his mouth whenever he began a word with the letter J. Does G-d not like those who honor him with names such as Jacob and Joseph? There's a mystery afoot there, if one less pressing than such mysteries as who killed Lowenna Morgenstern and Ythel Weinstock, "found lying side by side in the back of Ythel Weinstock's caravan in pools of each other's blood." Who, indeed? Kevern's got his work cut out for him, and though everyone's ready to talk, no one's ready to tell. The laughs come fewer and farther between than in Jacobson's recent string of men-lost-in-middle-age yarns, which is not to say that his latest is without humor: When one local asks Kevern whether he knows the meaning of a dialect phrase, Kevern guesses something very not nice indeed, to which the local replies, "We'll make a local of yerz yet. Go fuck yerzelf is spot on." A pleasure, as reading Jacobson always is-though much different from what we've come to expect, which is not at all a bad thing.

        COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

popularity
171
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"Longlisted for 2014's Man Booker Prize, J is a snarling, effervescent, and ambitious philosophical work of fiction that poses unsettling questions about our sense of history, and our self-satisfied orthodoxies. Jacobson's triumph is to craft a novel that is poignant as well as troubling from the debris." --Independent (UK)

Man Booker Prize--winner Howard Jacobson's brilliant and profound new novel, J, "invites comparison with George Orwell's 1984 and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World" (Sunday Times, London). Set in a world where collective memory has vanished and the past is a dangerous country, not to be talked about or visited, J is a boldly inventive love story, both tender and terrifying.
Kevern Cohen doesn't know why his father always drew two fingers across his lips when he said a word starting with a J. It wasn't then, and isn't now, the time or place to be asking questions. When the extravagantly...
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      • source: The Booker Prize Foundation
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A Novel
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Random House Publishing Group