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The Finkler Question

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Title: The Finkler Question  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: 2010 in literature, The Sense of an Ending, Wolf Hall, Gilad Atzmon, Man Booker Prize
Collection: 2010 Novels, Bloomsbury Publishing Books, British Comedy Novels, Man Booker Prize-Winning Works, Novels Set in London
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

The Finkler Question

Finkler Question
First edition
Author Howard Jacobson
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Comic novel
Publisher Bloomsbury
Publication date
Media type Print (hardcover and paperback)

The Finkler Question is a 2010 novel written by British author Howard Jacobson. The novel won the Man Booker Prize.


  • Plot Synopsis 1
  • Critical response 2
  • Awards and honours 3
  • References 4

Plot Synopsis

Julian Treslove, a professionally unspectacular former BBC radio producer, and Sam Finkler, a popular Jewish philosopher, writer and television personality, are old school friends. Despite a prickly relationship and very different lives, they remain good friends, keeping contact with their former teacher Libor Sevcik, a Jewish Czech nearing ninety who once tutored in Czech history and worked part-time as a Hollywood gossip columnist.

Now, both Libor and Finkler are recently widowed, and Treslove's chequered and unsuccessful record with women qualify him as an honorary third widower. They dine together at Libor's grand apartment in central Palestinians over the Israelis over their land disputes. The novel coalesces into an ending that brings together the disparate narrative strands amongst the three central male characters.

Critical response

Chairman of the judges and former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion said, "The Finkler Question should not be seen as something that was 'relentlessly middle-brow, or easy-peasy' because it was comic. It is much cleverer and more complicated and about much more difficult things than it immediately lets you know. Several people have used the word wise, and that's a good word."[1]

Awards and honours

The novel won the Man Booker Prize in 2010[1] and was the first comic novel to win the prize since Kingsley Amis's The Old Devils in 1986. Jacobson was the oldest winner since William Golding who won the prize in 1980, aged 69, for Rites of Passage. In his acceptance speech, Jacobson claimed he was going to spend his £50,000 prize money on a handbag for his wife, asking, "Have you seen the price of handbags?"

It was shortlisted for the JQ Wingate Prize (2011).[2]


  1. ^ a b Brown, Mark (October 12, 2010). "Howard Jacobson wins Booker prize 2010 for The Finkler Question", The Guardian. Retrieved October 12, 2010.
  2. ^ Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Prize 2011
Preceded by
Wolf Hall
Man Booker Prize recipient
Succeeded by
The Sense of an Ending
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