Review of J by Howard Jacobson

Read in September 2014

I was very much looking forward to this book because it sounded conceptually interesting and mysterious. To be honest, I was not impressed while reading it.

The characters Kevern and Ailinn were under-developed and their love story was pretty obnoxious. They were a very insular pair that seemed to be focused on nothing but their neuroses, and especially with Kevern’s issues. I was hoping that the book would deal more with societal problems and with ‘what happened, if it happened’. Instead I was disappointed and dismayed and slightly disgusted (see what I did there?) that the main focus of the book was the special snowflake relationship.

I wanted to know more about Necropolis and the people in it and how it got to be that way. The glimpses that the reader gets of the past seem like they should be sinister but it wasn’t enough to make me care.

I was also annoyed with the misogyny in the book. There were times when I was actually surprised that this book was published in 2014.

This is my first Howard Jacobson novel and I was quite disappointed. Do not be fooled, this is nothing like 1984 or Brave New World. That said, I’m still willing to try some of his other novels.

I received the copy from netgalley for review


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