Book Review – J by Howard Jacobson

1 Star

I’ll keep this review short because I don’t really have anything good to say. This is a book I received from Blogging for Books as one of the new hits book bloggers might want to check out, so these books are supposed to knock my socks off, but this one didn’t. That’s likely because my expectations going into this novel were quite different than what I’d been led to believe, and had I known the literary style of this book was so…”literary,” I wouldn’t have agreed to review it.

My personal taste as a reader is a book which will tell a story. This isn’t a story, but a rambling of philosophy. I’d been told that this book was akin to 1984 by George Orwell, which is a book I thoroughly enjoyed reading. But the difference between Jacobson and Orwell is that Jacobson only gives us half of what we need. The depth of philosophy is no doubt well thought out as we are given a world I would love to read about. A place where art and music are wrongly dumbed down and keeping anything from the past is frowned upon is a frightening “on the edge of my seat” kind of premise.

Unfortunately, there is little to no story to keep me engaged, and one cannot use the excuse of “literary fiction” to justify a book which is lacking in narrative thrust and drags on, leaving me unsatisfied for the return on my time invested into reading.

I’m sure there are plenty of people who have read and appreciated this book for what it set out to do, but I’m just not one of them.


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