Tuesday, December 14, 2010

On a Howard Jacobson Kick

I wrote earlier about how much I enjoyed The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson. The book won the Booker Prize and is a real joy.

With that in mind, I picked up a copy of one of Jacobson's other books, The Making of Henry. I'm still reading it, but to give you a sense of Jacobson's style, here is the beginning:

Henry believes he knows exactly when the ninety-four-year-old woman in the neighboring apartment dies. He hears her turn off. Until now he has not been able to distinguish her from her appliances - her washing machine, her vacuum cleaner, her radiators, her television. But the moment she gives up the ghost he detects the cessation of a noise of which he was not previously aware. A hum, was it? A whirr? Impossible to say. There is no word for the sound a life makes.

"Ah well," his cleaning woman muses, once word of the death has seeped out, "what's one more?"

"Plenty, if you happen to be the one," Henry says.

No comments: