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Episode 9

Duration:
15 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 06 December 2012

From the beginning Oliver Walzer is a natural - at ping-pong. Even with his improvised bat (the Collins Classic edition of 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde') he can chop, flick, half-volley like a champion.

At sex he is not so natural, being shy and frightened of women. But with tuition from Sheeny Waxman, fellow member of the Akiva Social Club Table Tennis team, his game improves. And while the Akiva boys teach him everything he needs to know about ping-pong, his father Joel Walzer teaches him everything there is to know about 'swag'.

Unabashedly autobiographical, this is a hilarious and heartbreaking story of one man's coming of age in 1950's Manchester.

Howard Jacobson won the Mann Booker in 2010 for "The Finkler Question", but this is his masterpiece.

Produced by Clive Brill
A Pacificus production for BBC Radio 4.

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