Who’s Sorry Now?

Howard Jacobson, Author
Howard Jacobson. Bloomsbury, $17 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-60819-686-9
Reviewed on: 06/10/2013
Release date: 07/23/2013
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4464-1314-2
Hardcover - 330 pages - 978-0-224-06356-2
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In Man Booker Prize–winner (for The Finkler Question) Jacobson’s 2002 novel, only now being released in the U.S., Marvin Kreitman and Charlie Merriweather, friends for 20 years, meet once a week for dim sum. Kreitman, “the luggage baron of South London,” is married, has two teenage daughters, and any number of lovers. Charlie has always been faithful to his wife, also named Charlie, with whom he shares two children and a career—the two are coauthors of highly successful children’s books. One day Charlie shocks Kreitman by suggesting a bit of wife swapping. Kreitman doesn’t take his friend seriously until a random accident precipitates a series of farcical circumstances ending with a paradigm shift in the two couples’ relationships. Friends, lovers, and relatives are thrown into chaos as Jacobson hilariously chronicles what happens when Kreitman and Charlie look at life from new perspectives. This kind of schematic plotting might seem like the stuff of which Hollywood high-concept comedies are made. But Jacobson writes in a much looser vein and uses his situation to humorously examine various aspects of how we live now. Although the reader eventually grows weary of these solipsistic characters, Jacobson has a reliable penchant for garnering rude laughs at their expense. (July)
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