25-08-14

Howard Jacobson

 

De Britse schrijver Howard Jacobson werd geboren op 25 augustus 1942 in Manchester. Hij is opgegroeid in Prestwich en werd opgeleid aan Stand Grammar School in Whitefield, alvorens Engels te gaan studeren op Downing College, Cambridge. Hij doceerde gedurende drie jaar aan de Universiteit van Sydney voordat hij terugkeerde naar Engeland om les te geven aan Selwyn College in Cambridge. Zijn fictie, met name de vijf romans die hij heeft gepubliceerd sinds 1998, wordt vooral gekenmerkt door een discursieve en humoristische stijl. Terugkerende onderwerpen in zijn werk zijn man-vrouw verhoudingen en de Joodse ervaring in Groot-Brittannië in de midden-tot laat-20e eeuw. Jacobson is wel vergeleken met vooraanstaande Joods-Amerikaanse schrijvers als Philip Roth. Zijn roman The Mighty Walzer uit 1999 over een tiener tafeltenniskampioen, won de Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for comic writing. Hij speelt in het Manchester van de jaren 1950 en Jacobson, zelf als tiener een ping pong fan, geeft toe dat er meer dan een autobiografisch element in zit. Zijn romans Who's Sorry Now uit 2002 en Kalooki Nights uit 2006 kwamen al eerder op de long list van de Man Booker Prize. Jacobson werkte ook als columnist voor The Independent en voor de televisie. Twee tv-programma's waren Channel 4's Howard Jacobson Takes on the Turner uit 2000 Why the Novel Matters uit 2002. Zie ook alle tags voor Howard Jacobson op dit blog.

Uit: Zoo Time

“Vanessa hated it when I started a new book. She saw it as me getting one over her who hadn't started a new book because she hadn't finished, or indeed started, the old one. But she also hated it when I hadn't started a new book, because not starting a new book made me querulous and sexually unreliable. At least when I was writing a new book she knew where I was. The downside of that being that as soon as she knew where I was she wished I were somewhere else.
In fact, my question hid a lie; I hadn't started a new book, not in the sense of starting writing a new book. I had mouth-written a hundred new books, I just didn't believe in any of them. It wasn't personal, it wasn't only my books I didn't believe in, it was books full stop. If I was over, it was because the book was over. But Vanessa wasn't aware of the full extent of the crisis. She saw me trudge off to my study, heard the keys of my computer making their dead click and assumed I was still pouring forth my soul abroad like Keats's logorrhoeic nightingale.
I even affected high spirits. 'I'm sitting on top of the world,' I sang, breaking for tea.
'No you're not,' she shouted from her room.
She was contradictory to her soul. 'I did it my way,' I sang the morning after our wedding. 'No you didn't,' she said, not even looking up from her newspaper.
If my singing irritated her, the sound of my writing drove her to the edge of madness. But so did the sound of my not writing. This was part of the problem of our marriage. The other part was me. Not what I did, what I was. The fact of me. The manness of me.
'You, you, you,' she said for the umpteenth time that night. It was like a spell; if she said the word often enough maybe I, I, I would vanish in a vapour of red wine.
We were out to dinner. We were always out to dinner. Along with everybody else. Dinner was all there was left to do.”

 

 
Howard Jacobson (Manchester, 25 augustus 1942)

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