J

J

Book - 2014
Average Rating:
8
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Kevern doesn't know why his father made him put two finger across his lips whenever he began a word with a J. It wasn't then, and isn't now, the time or place for asking questions. Ailinn, too, has grown up in the dark about who she is and where she comes from. The past is a dangerous country, not to be visited or talked about. She is new to the village; Kevern has lived here, in half-hiding, all his life. They feel a surge of protectiveness for each other the moment they meet. On their first date, Kevern kisses the bruises under her eyes. He doesn't ask who did it. Brutality has grown commonplace. They aren't sure whether they have fallen in love of their own accord or whether they've been pushed into each other's arms. But who would have pushed them, and why?
Publisher: Toronto : Hamish Hamilton, an imprint of Penguin Canada Books Inc., ©2014.
ISBN: 9780670068746
Characteristics: 326 pages ;,24 cm.

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i
ikhetred
Jul 18, 2016

A morose and uneasy read, it deals with the lingering consequences of a society that has decided to turn a collective blind eye to a mass atrocity (massive genocide is strongly implied) committed generations ago, and by scrubbing all memory of it, and by imposing upon itself a forced cultural docility and civility, seeks to absolve itself of 'what happened, if it happened,' Compelling, although I found it a difficult and opaque read partly because the contours of the story are shaped largely by what is left unsaid, and partly because I couldn't quite get in the characters' heads. Still, the more i think of it after the fact, the more I like it.

r
rebmartin31
Jun 01, 2016

Sigh. I wanted to like this book, because I like Howard Jacobson (see The Finkler Question), but I just didn't get this book.

In this book Jacobson seemed to be operating under the theory of talking about something by its absence...or whatever, but to me, it was just all absence and no substance. This book was too full of whispers and shadows for me, and I just wanted to know what it was that was causing/casting those whispers and shadows. Missed the sort of revelatory punch of Never Let Me Go.

Also, I found the two protagonists very forgettable. If there was supposed to be a love story here, it was painted in such dull, pale colors that it was almost invisible.

Not Jacobson's best, unfortunately.

m
mblummichaels
May 25, 2015

read others by this author

b
bibliomutti
Feb 28, 2015

This tale has the logic and clarity of a terrible and prolonged nightmare as experienced by a creative, intellectual, middle-aged, very British, Jewish man, circa 2015. "J" is intelligent and provocative, and always perplexing. Also, it is a bit preoccupied with love and sex - in a sad way.

f
Foxglen
Feb 23, 2015

I admit this was hard for me to follow. A deep subject but interesting characters. Hurt my brain!

m
mclarjh
Oct 19, 2014

This is either a work of genius, or a load of shite!

Oct 10, 2014

Great book, disappointing ending.

KCLSLibsRecommend Oct 02, 2014

Shortlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize

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