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Howard Jacobson

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 02 January 2011

James Naughtie and readers talk to this year's Man Booker prize winner - Howard Jacobson. The chosen book for this edition of Bookclub is the one he says he wants people to read : The Mighty Walzer, first published in 1999.

Peculiarly, it is a comic novel about the joy and despair of table tennis.

It's also a portrait of a Jewish boyhood in Manchester, showing how the main character - Oliver Walzer - comes to terms with the demands of puberty and his sporting genius; as well as the attentions of his mother, grandmother and assorted aunties.

Back in the 1950s Jacobson, like his alter-ego Oliver Walzer, was one of the top 10 junior table tennis players in the country. This is a heavily autobiographical novel from a writer who's has been called 'the master of confessional humour'.

As always on Bookclub, a group of readers join the author in the discussion and James Naughtie chairs the programme.

February's Bookclub choice : 'Blood River' by Tim Butcher.

Producer : Dymphna Flynn.


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