Booker Prize voor Howard Jacobson

 

Booker Prize voor Howard Jacobson

 

 

De Britse schrijver Howard Jacobson heeft dinsdag de Man Booker Prize 2010 gekregen voor zijn roman The Finkler Question. De uitreiking werd rechtstreeks uitgezonden door de omroep BBC. Aan de prijs is een geldbedrag verbonden van 50.000 pond (ruim 56.000 euro).

 

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.

 

Uit: The Finkler Question

 

„He should have seen it coming.

His life had been one mishap after another. So he should have been prepared for this one.

He was a man who saw things coming. Not shadowy premonitions before and after sleep, but real and present dangers in the daylit world. Lamp posts and trees reared up at him, splintering his shins. Speeding cars lost control and rode on to the footpath leaving him lying in a pile of torn tissue and mangled bones. Sharp objects dropped from scaffolding and pierced his skull.

Women worst of all. When a woman of the sort Julian Treslove found beautiful crossed his path it wasn’t his body that took the force but his mind. She shattered his calm.

True, he had no calm, but she shattered whatever calm there was to look forward to in the future. She was the future.

People who see what’s coming have faulty chronology, that is all. Treslove’s clocks were all wrong. He no sooner saw the woman than he saw the aftermath of her — his marriage proposal and her acceptance, the home they would set up together, the drawn rich silk curtains leaking purple light, the bed sheets billowing like clouds, the wisp of aromatic smoke winding from the chimney — only for every wrack of it — its lattice of crimson roof tiles, its gables and dormer windows, his happiness, his future — to come crashing down on him in the moment of her walking past.

She didn’t leave him for another man, or tell him she was sick of him and of their life together, she passed away in a perfected dream of tragic love — consumptive, wet-eyelashed, and as often as not singing her goodbyes to him in phrases borrowed from popular Italian opera.

There was no child. Children spoilt the story.

Between the rearing lamp posts and the falling masonry he would sometimes catch himself rehearsing his last words to her — also as often as not borrowed from the popular Italian operas — as though time had concertinaed, his heart had smashed, and she was dying even before he had met her.

There was something exquisite to Treslove in the presentiment of a woman he loved expiring in his arms. On occasions he died in hers, but her dying in his was better. It was how he knew he was in love: no presentiment of her expiry, no proposal.

That was the poetry of his life. In reality it had all been women accusing him of stifling their creativity and walking out on him.“

 

 

 

 
Howard Jacobson (Manchester, 25 augustus 1942)