WRITING STYLE: 2.5/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 2.5/5
When you mention Howard Jacobson, you have to mention it with at least some degree of awe and reverence. This is because the author has to his credit the famous Man booker prize which was awarded to him in the year 2010 for his book The Finkler Question. So when you set out to read the work of such an accomplished author you definitely have great hopes about the book. I too started off this book with a hopeful heart and a positive mind but alas! My hopes were not meant to be met.
J is set in an uncertain future where the past is shrouded in mystery and is discouraged to be talked about or revisited. The territory in which the story is set is also unknown. It is in such weird circumstances that two people come together and fall in love. But what will be their future? And what is their past will they ever be able to figure out? The story doesn’t offer much in terms of plot and the mystery which almost engulfs the entire book is never unshrouded.
The narratives which describe it as “a dystopian novel like no other” and compares it to the likes of George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” surely does not do a good job of describing it. The book is not at all what it seems like and at the end of it I feel rather sad to make a statement that I did not enjoy the book much. The past which is not to be discussed in the society is almost equally never discussed in the book. It is rather vaguely referred to as “WHAT HAPPENED, IF IT HAPPENED” and is never disclosed to the reader.
J is quite boring and at least does not suit my taste. The totally vague setting also sets the reader off at an early stage. The characters barring a few are rather dull and boring and so is the melancholy which marks the present state of society. There was not a single element which kept my interest from wavering off and it was only with sheer will and determination that I was able to complete the book.
Thus, I will rate J two and a half out of five stars and would rather caution my readers about reading his one.