45: J by Howard Jacobson

(DON LAFONTAINE VO) IN A WORLD where dark humor is banned and only cheerful art prevails, one man’s humor, and one woman’s life, are dark enough to put them on the authorities’ watch list…

The Sometime Seminar discusses J (2014), a bleak satire or a funny dystopian novel by Howard Jacobson.

Our spoiler warning this time is more serious than usual: because of the way this novel works, even reading reviews of it beforehand will deprive you of the slow-dawning discovery of its strange world, and listening to the podcast before reading the book is probably a lot less fun than the other way around.

Supplementary links: reviews of J by James Walton in the Spectator (“Once you’re not being swept along by Jacobson’s prose, the awkward realisation dawns that he’s not joking, in more ways than one.”), Ian Sansom in the New Statesman, Tim Martin in the Telegraph, James Kidd in the Independent, John Burnside in the Guardian, and Anthony Cummins in the Observer

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