Fixated on the crimes that have been committed against his people, but unable to live among them, Max moves away, marries out, and draws cartoon histories of Jewish suffering in which no one, least of all the Jews, is much interested. But it's a life. Or it seems a life, until Max's long-disregarded childhood friend, Manny Washinsky, is released from prison. Little by little, as he picks up his old connection with Manny, trying to understand the circumstances in which he made a Buchenwald of his own home, Max is drawn into Manny's family history - above all with his brother's tragic love affair with a girl who is half German. But more than that, he is drawn back into the Holocaust obsessions from which he realises there can be, and should be, no release.
There is wild, angry, even uproarious element of laughter in this novel, but it is laughter on the edge - the comedy of cataclysm.
©2006 Howard Jacobson; (P)W.F. Howes Ltd
"He has taken his skills to a new level and produced a novel of genius." (The Independent)
"A masterpiece...a brilliantly constructed, playful, evocative, hilarious, midnight dark novel." (Sunday Herald)
"This is turbocharged; someone has put a rocket under Jacobson, and the result is scintillating." (Evening Standard)
I've just finished listening to Kalooki Nights, I have found it to be brilliantly written and entertainingly narrated. Steven Crossley does an amazing job with the character's voices bringing them to life in a captivating manner.
Not a holocaust survivor novel at all, its not even about the horrors of WW2 although some of them are mentioned, its more about the way people who were never there talk about remembering the holocaust, its an entertaining look inside life from a Jewish perspective. I think the easiest thing to do is to compare it to the film East is East, that is about the life of a family from Pakistan living in Britain, well Kaoolki Nights is primarily about a Jewish family living in Britain, their experiences, memories and how they affect the present, very funny in places, quite profound in others.
Written in the first person narrative of Max Glickman, its mainly focused on one man's experience growing up, learning about his family heritage, finding himself and his place in the world through his cartoons, his best friend and their experiences together growing up then later when they are reconnected, their beliefs and the effect they have on each other.
Very warming in places, the darker issues like being married to someone of a different faith and religious beliefs, the clashes between husband and wife etc are written in such a way that the descriptions are insanely frank therefore very funny.
The whole book I'm giving a five stars rating, I really enjoyed it and actually would listen to it again in the future, I suppose like watching something for the second time I'll notice things I didn't notice the first time I listened. Feel I've learnt something from this one, it really has given me an insight in to being Jewish living in Britain and all that it contains plus its made me interested in hearing more from Howard Jacobson. Next I'm going to try The Finker Question.
This is the only audible book that I have been unable to listen to. If you are considering this one listen to a preview first. it will not appeal to a universal audience.
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