National Post | Arts

Zoo Time by Howard JacobsonZoo Time
By Howard Jacobson
384 pp; $27.50

Howard Jacobson’s Zoo Time surely marks the death for a tremendously popular, winning form of 20th-century novel that has for its anti-hero an unsavoury Jewish rogue, often but not always a writer. Zoo Time is execrably written, or perhaps merely hastily written — Jacobson started it before The Finkler Question was awarded the Man Booker Prize for 2010 — though either way the book is saved from being a towering waste of a reader’s time for what it says about the exhaustion of a certain kind of story and how not to write it.

Jacobson’s Guy Ableman  ­— read the name ­— is a moderately capable English Jewish novelist, and one acutely conscious of all circumstances, personal and of the age, that conspire against his greater success. He is tight-assed, chauvinistic and unpleasant, a vain and petty man who salivates after…

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