Kalooki Nights

Howard Jacobson, Author . Simon & Schuster $25 (450p) ISBN 978-1-4165-4342-8

British comic author Jacobson unfolds his mordantly unsettling but hilarious ninth novel in retrospect. Cartoonist Max Glickman has built an uncertain career lampooning his own Judaism, while his relationships have been restricted to "women with diaereses or umlauts" (including ex-wives Chloë and Zoë). His introverted childhood friend, Manny Washinsky, grows up to commit a ghastly crime (also shiksa-related), but in their early adolescence, the two boys get together in an abandoned air raid shelter in 1950s Manchester to work on a comic-book history of Jewish suffering, Five Thousand Years of Bitterness , completed years later by Max. The two meet again after decades, when Manny is released from prison and Max is hired by a TV production company headed by a Nazi sympathizer, in one of many caustic ironies, to develop a film treatment based on Manny's life. Paradoxically, it leads Max to real revelations about their pasts and their identities. The factual horror of the Holocaust is always close to the emotional core of this twisted tour de force—Max's fugue-like expletive-spewing first person reads like a British Zuckerman completely unbound—but Jacobson (The Making of Henry ) tempers the profane with meditations on what it means to be British and Jewish. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 01/01/2007
Release date: 04/01/2007
Paperback - 472 pages - 978-0-09-950136-7
Paperback - 450 pages - 978-1-4165-4343-5
Ebook - 464 pages - 978-1-4165-5402-8
Paperback - 480 pages - 978-0-14-317089-1
Paperback - 480 pages - 978-0-09-956067-8
Open Ebook - 480 pages - 978-1-4464-1302-9
Hardcover - 472 pages - 978-0-224-07865-8
Hardcover - 450 pages - 978-2-7021-4335-3
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